Chamber of Commerce leaders in Pima County are urging business owners who haven't filed a Paycheck Protection Program loan application with a financial institution to do so immediately ahead of the House of Representatives expected approval of $310 billion in additional funding Thursday.
"In light of the potential news that an additional $310 billion will be released for the PPP, small businesses should apply now so they are already in the system when the new funds are released," said President and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce Amber Smith.
However, the Small Business Administration said this latest round of money will be going to small businesses who already applied during the last round of funding in early April, but failed to secure a loan before the program ran aground last week.
"Right now, the SBA is not accepting any new applications," said Jordan Ripley, public information officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration Arizona District Office. "However, some lenders are accepting new applications in order to have their queue lined up if additional funding was appropriated for the program."
While Ripley is unsure if the SBA will begin accepting applications anytime soon, she did say for those who have already applied to contact their financial lender about the status of their current application.
District Director for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona's 2nd Congressional District Ron Barber said another recovery bill is being discussed as the house is poised to vote on the current $480 billion Thursday. Kirkpatrick is on the House Committee of Appropriations which allocates federal funding.
"There are a lot of requests on the table. They include funding for states and cities, more funding for PPP and direct payments to qualifying people based on salary levels," wrote Barber in a text message. "We also expect that there will be a push for extending the period of time for the federal subsidy to unemployment insurance."
Barber wrote the "hold up" of future funding is largely due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky senator recently suggested stopping future appropriations funding during the pandemic in favor of letting states and municipalities declare bankruptcy.
"(McConnell) said he is "pushing the pause button" on any more appropriations. He also suggested that states and cities should consider declaring bankruptcy if in financial trouble," Barber wrote. "All this is a new battleground between the two parties and it will rage on for at least 2 to 3 weeks before a compromise bill will emerge."
Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Perry said he is hopeful the federal government will approve another round of PPP loans in upcoming weeks. For those who have already applied, he said, "Call your bank every day until you get an answer".
"I know there's a terrific demand for this help," said Perry. " We're saying to members and non-members alike to get your application in there and let's see how this shakes out."
Perry said his main concern is the loans aren't getting to the businesses that need them while larger companies receive loans.
"People are hurting out there. this is a real crisis," Perry said. "My concern is that the smallest employers, the ones who need it the most, are not going to get help. That is upsetting to me."
For a list of SBA approved PPP lenders, click here.