Federal policymakers ended the week deadlocked over the politics of approving new funding for the popular small business part of the CARES Act, Payroll Protection Program (PPP). The Small Business Administration announced that the initial $350 billion of funding had been committed and that they would no longer accept applications or new bank participants until the program was refunded.

Republican leader Senator Mitch McConnell had outsmarted the Democratic Congressional leaders by suggesting last week that the PPP was going to run out of money and proposing at $250 billion refunding. He had made that suggestion in consultation with the Administration but without obtaining a sign-off from Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer or Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

With members of the House and Senate currently on break and back in their home states Congress has been operating with only a handful of members present, using the parliamentary Unanimous Consent (UC) procedure which, as the name suggests, requires all measure to pass with no objection. The usual process is for the leaders to clear ideas with each other on a bipartisan consultation but McConnell believed that the PPP funding would be so popular he could get points for Republicans by springing it on the Democrats ...

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