The struggle to reach a deal to revive the paycheck program just weeks before the election is all the more surprising because it’s one of the few issues that has had strong bipartisan support throughout the pandemic. Lawmakers overwhelmingly backed the program, which provided $525 billion to more than 5 million businesses, and employers embraced it because they could convert the loans to grants if they agreed not to fire workers.
But PPP has become hostage to bigger fights over the size of the entire rescue package, with Republicans refusing to agree to more than $2 trillion in spending sought by Democrats.
“The failure to pass continued relief should be met with far more outrage,” said John Lettieri, co-founder of the Economic Innovation Group think tank, and a former Senate aide. “It’s absolutely shameful.”
Now, restaurants, retailers and other small businesses that have been among the hardest hit face existential