The Senate just passed a $480 billion “interim” stimulus bill to tide over small businesses

After weeks of infighting, the Senate has passed another deal aimed at tiding over small businesses during this economic downturn.

The legislation, which lawmakers are describing as an “interim” spending package before the next major stimulus bill, includes roughly $480 billion in funding, $380 billion of which is dedicated to small business loan programs. It’s a much-needed boost for hundreds of thousands of small businesses, as the money that Congress previously allocated for forgivable loans and grants has run out. It’s worth noting, however, that some of the same loopholes that enable larger corporations — like Ruth’s Chris Steak House — to apply for these loans still remain.

In addition to the funds for small business loans, this bill also includes $75 billion for hospitals — which are experiencing severe revenue shortfalls as they combat the coronavirus — and $25 billion to establish testing programs, money that experts say is much needed in order to build out the country’s testing capacity.

This package doesn’t contain, however, several priorities that Democrats had previously emphasized, such as additional funding for states and cities that are also struggling financially during this crisis. These omissions have prompted some progressive members, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), to signal opposition to the proposal.

“We have not seen the final text of this bill, but what I can say is that if it matches up with what has been reported, I will not support this bill personally,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Monday.

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