- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on Monday said Small Business Administration loans in the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package that Congress passed last week should be available starting Friday.

That “will be at lightning speed,” Mr. Mnuchin said on Fox Business Network. “We hope later today that we’ll be releasing the documents and the instructions — it’ll be a very simple process.”

He said they expect the $350 billion in small-business loans will cover about 50% of the private workforce.

The SBA loans are intended to cover eight weeks of payroll and about 25% of overhead for qualifying companies with 500 or fewer employees. If the companies use the money to bring back or pay employees the loan will be forgiven.

“If we run out of money and this is a huge success, we will absolutely go back to Congress and ask for more money,” he said.

He also said that the direct deposit checks of at least $1,200 would be showing up in Americans’ accounts in three weeks. The checks were another major part of the package Congress passed in response to the escalating coronavirus outbreak.

Mr. Mnuchin said the existing package should help sustain the U.S. economy for the next 8-12 weeks.

Asked about providing hazard pay for first responders and nurses, Mr. Mnuchin said that’s definitely something they would put in the “next bill” but that he’s not yet organizing a fourth coronavirus-related legislative package.

In addition to the $2.2 trillion rescue package President Trump signed last week, Congress had also cleared legislation that increased federal health funding and boosted some social safety net programs.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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