Congressman Brett Guthrie said this week he supports funneling additional money into the program geared toward rescuing small businesses crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.
But in a phone interview this week, Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican, said the rest of the $2 trillion coronavirus bill should be given time to be implemented before Congress pursues another large aid bill.
Congress has passed three aid packages since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools. The scope of the pandemic, which had infected 397,000 Americans and killed nearly 13,000 people nationwide as of Wednesday morning, prompted governors in multiple states, including Kentucky, to order residents to stay home under most circumstances.
Congress put $350 billion into small business assistance in the bill passed last week, where the money can be used to provide businesses with fewer than 500 employees an eight-week forgivable loan for payroll, with the loan backed by the Small Business Administration.
The Senate is working on putting another $250 billion into the small business program. Guthrie said if the Senate approves the measure, the House could be called back to vote on it as soon as Friday.
“My assessment of the additional money is, if we don’t spend it here, we spend it on unemployment,” Guthrie said.
The New York Times reported Wednesday the Democratic majority in the House is attempting to attach additional provisions to the Senate’s plan, such as money for hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments.
Guthrie said Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had raised talks of another aid bill, but the $2 trillion package hasn’t had time to work.
“This is a big bill, and we have to get this implemented,” Guthrie said. After the bill is in effect, officials can “see where we are,” he said.
Guthrie said funding for state governments is going to be an ongoing concern. The federal government will have to look at taking action to assist states that are losing sales and income tax revenue.
“Right now, we have to get through these bills” that have already been passed, he said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse