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Small businesses leave $130 billion in emergency relief untouched -- and ask Congress to rethink the aid

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Jessica and Richard Fierro are among more than 4.5 million small business owners who tapped into the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program -- the massive federal effort to keep the backbone of the US economy afloat amid the coronavirus-driven recession.

(CNN)Jessica and Richard Fierro are among more than 4. 5 million small business owners who tapped into the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program -- the massive federal effort to keep the backbone of the US economy afloat amid the coronavirus-driven recession.

But like so many others, the owners of Atrevida Beer Co. in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have an urgent message for lawmakers as applications for the small business emergency rescue program close Tuesday night: Access to money with more flexible terms is needed, and fast.

But now business owners like the Fierros are watching the virus spike across the country with trepidation -- and growing recognition that a short-term fix isn't the right recipe for survival for small operators ravaged by the pandemic.

The small business program is likely to shut its doors to applications with more than $130 billion in allocated funds left untapped.

"My concern is that the money that's unspent now is the money we are arguing should be held over and used for a new round of assistance to small business," said Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio, the chair of the Senate's Small Business Committee, led the drafting of the program and has worked to address implementation issues throughout its nearly three months of existence.

The small business program served to deploy more than $513 billion in loans to businesses, but as the shutdowns wore on, the structure of how that money must be used for the loans to be forgivable changed.

As they look to Congress, however, for Atrevida Beer Co. , the Fierros and so many small business owners just like them, there is clear agreement that something, anything, needs to get done -- and soon.

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