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As part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, President Trump announced during a task force briefing on Wednesday that the package will offer $350 million towards job retention loans for small businesses.
"This will help businesses keep workers on the payroll and allow our economy to quickly accelerate as soon as we defeat the virus," Trump said.
Portrait of a happy business owner hanging an open sign on the door at a cafe and smiling – food and drinks concepts
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the loans "enormous help for the American workers and the American economy" that will cover roughly 50 percent of the private payroll.
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The loans will cover eight weeks of employee salaries and will be forgiven as long as businesses keep their workers employed.
Mnuchin also said the Treasury would unveil new regulations authorizing almost every single FDIC-insured bank to make the loans. Mnuchin expects a “very simple process” by the end of next week where the loans can be made and dispersed the same day.
“This will be a very simple system to get money into small business’ hands”, he said.
For businesses that don’t qualify, Mnuchin said there will be an economic program of tax incentives to retain workers and "enhanced unemployment insurance" that will be administered through the states.
Mnuchin added that the Treasury will have additional authority to use $500 billion to work with the Federal Reserve on emergency programs that will create "up to an additional 4 trillion dollars if needed to support American business and workers."
More than half of U.S. small business owners say their business will not be able to continue operating more than three months due to economic strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Goldman Sachs survey of more than 1,500 small business owners conducted March 16-17.
There are nearly 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S., employing around 47.3 percent of the private workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
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The package will also include up to $250 billion dollars in expanded unemployment benefits. The average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months. Independent contractors and those who are self-employed will also be eligible.
The coronavirus relief package is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday.