WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, the US Senate approved an additional coronavirus relief package of $484 billion, which provides over $310 billion more in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program, designed to provide small businesses with forgivable loans to keep workers employed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, ran out of money on April 16.

PPP is helping keep businesses afloat while the economy is nearly shut down during the pandemic. Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees can apply for loans through the program.

Industry groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) praised incoming relief for small business.

“We applaud the Senate for advancing this critical replenishment of funding to programs like Paycheck Protection Program, and we are pleased to see the reaffirmation of Congress’s intent that cattle producers be granted access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program administered by the Small Business Administration,” said Ethan Lane, vice president of governmental affairs for NCBA. "We urge the House of Representatives to move swiftly to approve this package and deliver these funds to producers across the country who are continuing to keep grocery store shelves full during this economic disaster."

The National Retail Federation (NRF) welcomed the new relief package, saying it is vital to keeping retailers in business.

“Retailers continue to deal with catastrophic hardships from COVID-19 and small retailers are the hardest hit,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of NRF. “The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) was an important first step but funding for the Paycheck Protection Program has already been exhausted and additional relief is essential to keeping employees of small retailers on the payroll and contributing to the economy until we can get through this challenge. This assistance is too important to be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to those who were the quickest to file their applications. This measure will ensure that those who need assistance the most will receive it.”

The US House of Representatives is expected to take up and pass the legislation on Thursday with overwhelming bipartisan support, followed shortly by the legislation being signed into law by President Trump.