WASHINGTON – A stimulus program set up to prevent small businesses from shuttering and their employees from going on unemployment officially ran dry Thursday morning, less than two weeks after launching.
The fate of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was launched April 3 with $349 billion for loans to small businesses, remains unclear as congressional leaders and the Trump administration remain at an impasse on a deal to inject billions more into the program.
The Treasury Department says by law, it will not be able to issue new loan approvals for small businesses due to the lapse, putting a pause on the program that has already approved more than 1.6 million applications for employers. The Small Business Administration on Thursday said it had halted accepting new applications for loans and enrolling new lenders because of the lapse in funds.
As the program's popularity became apparent earlier this month, the administration and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked Congress for an additional $250 billion in emergency funds to bolster the program and prevent it from running dry. Though both parties are supportive of passing additional money for the program, Democrats and Republicans have so far been unable to find a compromise.
Late Wednesday, Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza issued a statement noting the historic demand for loans and pleading for Congress to pass additional funds for the program.
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