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Senate approves additional $320 billion in COVID-19 relief for small businesses

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed the “Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act,” a $484 billion measure that provides additional funding to further assist small businesses, hospitals and frontline medical professionals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The legislation, which now goes to the House, passed the Senate via unanimous consent. This came after Senate Republicans last week attempted to replenish the PPP with an additional $250 billion, but that effort was blocked by Democrats in the chamber. The PPP since ran out of money, with businesses looking for relief temporarily left stranded.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) supported the legislation, as he outlined in a statement.

“I am proud we were finally able to come to an agreement to reopen and continue funding the vital Paycheck Protection Program, along with other resources that will help American workers and families during this difficult time,” said Shelby.

“Since its recent implementation, the Paycheck Protection Program has provided much-needed relief for many small businesses suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in Alabama and across the nation,” he continued. “This legislation, which also includes urgent funds for hospitals and healthcare providers, is another important step in protecting and rebuilding our nation’s economy. I look forward to the work still to come.”

The new coronavirus relief package includes $100 billion for urgent health care needs, including $75 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers and $25 billion to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer and expand existing capacity for COVID-19 tests.

Additionally, the legislation contains $320 billion to continue funding the PPP, of which $60 billion is set aside for loans made by smaller insured depository institutions, credit unions and community banks. The measure also contains $60 billion for Small Business Association Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

As of April 17, a total of 27,922 loans were approved in Alabama through the PPP, amounting to $4,862,690,120. Approximately 60% of the loans accepted for the program were approved by banks with $10 billion of assets or less.

RELATED: NFIB: 80% of small businesses have not received relief funds

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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