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More Aid Coming For Small Businesses, Senate Majority Leader McConnell Says

A pedestrian strolls past a boutique in the North End neighborhood of Boston in late March after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all nonessential businesses to close in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Steven Senne

Multiple U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the solvency of a recently enacted $350 billion emergency lending program for small businesses, calling for Congress to pass another wave of funding as soon as this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get the Senate to approve, without objection, another influx of cash on Thursday.

McConnell did not say how much the Senate would try to approve by unanimous consent — which allows the Senate to approve legislation without requiring senators to return to Washington to cast votes — but Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said "at least" another $200 billion to $250 billion would be necessary to keep the program afloat.

"We have days, NOT weeks to address this," Rubio tweeted.

The recently enacted $2 trillion financial rescue package included an initial $350 billion for a small business emergency lending program. The program has only been operational since Friday.

McConnell said in a written statement that the program is "overwhelmingly popular" but that "Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry. That cannot happen."

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Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.
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