Gov. Kemp calls for Congress to continue funding for federal small business program

Georgia’s governor is calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Protection Program that ran out of money this week.

In a statement released Friday, Gov. Brian Kemp wrote:

"While small businesses across the United States are reeling from the impact of COVID-19 on our economy, this is no time for partisan games. The Paycheck Protection Program has provided a $9.5 billion lifeline to businesses right here in the Peach State. Those funds give critical relief to job creators in Georgia and throughout the country, ensuring they can keep employees on the payroll, sustain operations, and ultimately weather this crisis. I join with President Trump, Leader McConnell, and Leader McCarthy in urging Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and the Democrats to immediately return to Washington and replenish the Paycheck Protection Program. Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and they will be a key component of our strategy to safely reopen in the coming weeks. During these challenging times, we owe them nothing less than our absolute support."

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp addresses reporters Wednesday, April 1, 2020 (Credit: FOX 5 Atlanta).

Republicans say they are willing to accept Democratic demands for additional federal funding for hospitals to break a stalemate over the Trump administration's $250 billion request for a small-business coronavirus aid program that's out of money.

"We've had constructive talks. They're going to continue through the weekend," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said expressing optimism Friday the program will soon be expanded.

"And all it takes is a little bipartisan cooperation. We could move this thing and it be done. We could get the dollars back out on the street," said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD).

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House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told The Associated Press on Friday that he's also willing to meet a demand by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set aside some of the requested "paycheck protection" funding for community lenders.

"If we don't have the people who help out on the streets, the contract contact tracing, if we don't have the police and fire and EMTs who are needed here, it's not going to work. So you need it to be a little more comprehensive than just giving money to one small business program," said Sen. Schumer.

SEE ALSO: SBA loans runs dry but unemployment assistance on its way

The program, which has run out of money, helps small businesses pay employees during the virus outbreak.

McCarthy said Republicans would draw the line at Democratic demands for billions of dollars in funding for state and local governments. Talk continue this weekend.

On Twitter, President Donald Trump blasted Democrats writing "Today people started losing their jobs because of Crazy Nancy Pelosi, Cryin' Chuck Schumer, and the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats", urging them to end their quote "endless vacation".

"I can't imagine why Congress is not replenishing this small loan program. It's absolutely fantastic," said National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow.

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following joint statement regarding the program:

"The Treasury Department and SBA launched the unprecedented Paycheck Protection Program in just one week. Following its launch, the SBA processed more than 14 years' worth of loans in less than 14 days, which will protect a vast number of American jobs.

"The PPP enjoyed broad-based participation across the country from lenders of all sizes and a wide array of industries and businesses. From its start on April 3, PPP provided payroll assistance to more than 1.6 million small businesses in all 50 states and territories. Nearly 5,000 lenders participated in this critical program, including significant lending by community banks and credit unions. Nearly 20% of the amount approved was processed by lenders with less than $1 billion in assets, and approximately 60% of the loans were approved by banks with $10 billion of assets or less. No lender accounted for more than 5% of the total dollar amount of the program.

"The vast majority of these loans-74% of them-were for under $150,000, demonstrating the accessibility of this program to even the smallest of small businesses.

"The PPP provided funds to a wide variety of industries in all sectors of the economy, including construction, manufacturing, food and hospitality services, health care, agriculture, and retail, among many others. This demonstrates the broad diversity of PPP and its support for American workers across the board.

"The Paycheck Protection program is saving millions of American jobs and helping small businesses get through this challenging time. We urge Congress to protect millions more American workers and their families by appropriating additional funding to support PPP."

Neither the House nor Senate are expected back to Washington until May 4. So, to pass legislation without all lawmakers present, they’ll need to have unanimous consent, where every member agrees.

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The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report