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Schumer eyes relief for big business, fixes to small business lending

Forgivable loans for large businesses, similar to the relief granted to small businesses in the CARES Act, will be one order of business when Congress provides the next round of support for a suffering American economy, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said on Thursday.

Sen. Charles Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer

The CARES Act did provide a 50 percent big business tax credit if firms keep employees on the payroll. But providing loans, a percentage of which would not require payback, may also be necessary to ensure an economic rebound.

“The main thing is to keep the people working so businesses can reconstitute,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) told around 500 listeners during a late-morning webinar hosted by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

Schumer said Congressional members also realize more money is needed to fund the Payroll Protection Program for small businesses.

However, Democrats on Thursday morning blocked Sen. Mitch McConnell’s attempt at immediately pushing through another $250 billion for the loan pool.

Schumer said the relief by McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t change any wording in the CARES Act, meaning banks can continue to cherry pick whoever they prefer to finance. Small business owners have complained that they were denied an application because they weren’t a bank customer.

“A lot of businesses are being turned away by lenders because lenders aren’t accepting non-customers,” Schumer said. “That’s why we’re holding up the bill.

“It’s like a race car at a pit stop with two flat tires. You can fill it up with gas but you still need to fix the flat tires.”

Schumer said hospitals and other health care facilities should start to receive as early this week funding from the $2.3 trillion emergency legislation passed in late March. A total of $100 billion has been set aside for hospitals and another $50 billion for nursing homes and other care providers.

“Hospitals are desperately short of money,” Schumer said. “They’re laying off employees because they can’t do elective surgeries.”

Public and private universities in New York also will soon see a share of $953 million from the bill. The money will be doled out based on enrollment and Pell programs, Schumer said.

He said the next legislation must focus on other economic supports, including making broadband internet available in rural areas and propping up companies that are on the brink of collapse, such as the airline industry.

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