During a largely congenial Senate Small Business Committee hearing today with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza, it became clear that there is bipartisan interest in providing a more targeted PPP in the next COVID-package. Secretary Mnuchin stressed that the package should provide support for the hardest-hit industries (e.g., travel, leisure, restaurants) and continue to encourage firms to rehire employees. Reflecting legislation he introduced today, Ranking Member Cardin (D-MD) pressed for targeting the PPP to the smallest businesses; Administrator Carranza was open to this. Sens. Collins (R-ME) and Romney (R-UT) support extending the PPP for the smallest and most-affected businesses. Sen. Kennedy (R-LA) also wants PPP support for riot-affected businesses; Mr. Mnuchin was also open to this and, as a result, this change may occur via rule or in subsequent legislation. However, the hearing turned heated during questioning from Sen. Hawley (R-MO) on PPP loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates, causing the ranking member to insist that the program be implemented without an “ideological” test for affiliates. Bipartisan support for a PPP extension will evaporate if Sen. Hawley and other Republicans force provisions that directly target Planned Parenthood.
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