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By Elise Moores Updated on October 8, 2021

Federal Relief Programs Are Maxed Out. What’s Next?

On Thursday morning, 13 days after the flagship Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was launched, the $349 billion funding limit was reached.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and participating lenders are no longer accepting applications at this time.

According to the SBA, more than 1.6 million small businesses were approved for PPP loans from more than 4,900 lending institutions. But with 30 million small businesses in the country, many are without relief.

In addition, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is suspended because of a lack of funds.

So what’s next for small business owners struggling to stay afloat?

Congressional leaders are working to inject additional funds into the programs.

White House and Congressional Leaders Negotiate a Funding Patch

Negotiations on Capitol Hill are ongoing as lawmakers attempt to reach a consensus on how additional federal funding will be applied across existing programs.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to inject $250 billion into the program via unanimous consent, but the proposal was met with opposition from Democrats.

In turn, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced their proposal, double the size of McConnell’s.

It contained:

  • An additional $250 billion for small business loans, but with new requirements as to how and to whom funds would be granted.
  • Also, it proposed $100 billion for hospitals to acquire testing and personal protective equipment, as well as an additional $150 billion for state and local governments.

The proposal was blocked.

Negotiations continue, and there is no set deadline for a deal, though lawmakers recognize time is of the essence.

What Should Small Business Owners Do Until a Deal Is Struck?

While the congressional stalemate continues, it’s anticipated additional funds will be injected into both programs.

If you haven’t applied already, it’s a good idea to prepare your application, collect your documentation and ready yourself for when lenders and the SBA reopen the programs.

Until then, small business owners can look to their state and local nonprofits for low-cost loan and grant opportunities.

Check your governor’s and county’s websites to find relief measures available in your area. As program availability changes by the day, be sure to subscribe to available newsletters to ensure you’re informed of the latest updates.

Business owners should also contact their legislators to advocate for additional relief measures.

Elise Moores is the Managing Editor at Fast Capital 360, reporting on all things small business. She distills complex topics into consumable bites so you, the business owner, can make better decisions.
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