Lawmakers are looking at adding another $300 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, to help keep businesses afloat. There are 70 senators appointed to a bi-partisan task force discussing this.
One of the members is Senator Mike Rounds, who says the task force has been talking with President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Many small business owners are waiting for another round of PPP loans to keep their employees on the payroll.
“There’s a lot of people hurting right now. There’s a lot of people going to food banks who haven’t gone to food banks before,” Rounds said.
In addition to replenishing the PPP, the group is looking at how to best re-open the country. Rounds says he’s giving input on behalf of South Dakotans. He’s looking at how South Dakota not doing a complete shutdown will affect us moving forward.
“In doing so, we’re kind of one step ahead of the country in that we will be able to start back up a little more quickly than other states,” Rounds said.
He says that’ll be important for the large ag economy since farmers are planting.
“All of those businesses have to be open and available in order to get our crop in the ground, you know. If you miss that opportunity, it doesn’t come back another year,” Rounds said.
Nationwide, there is concern about re-opening the country too fast and creating another wave of COVID-19 cases.
“You should always look at what the health impact is on any decision you make,” Rounds said. “In South Dakota, right now, we’ve got close to 1,700 positive, cases that have been identified as positive so far in the entire state. The vast majority are in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties. So, in those two counties, we’re selective enough to make exceptions there.”
Rounds says he’s also looking at how to best protect the gaming industry, to make sure casinos are accessing resources other businesses are getting. Rounds hopes members of the task force can give certainty to South Dakotans in this uncertain time.
“It’s going to last for a while. We want to make sure the PPP is in and available to as many businesses as possible,” Rounds said.