“This is the biggest shock in living memory, and the question looms in the air of, is it enough?”
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) also questioned whether the current fiscal efforts passed by Congress and implemented by the Treasury Department are adequate to address the nation’s dire economic climate:
“I have a growing sense that we have a bit of a ‘donut hole.’ Some businesses that are not quite right for the Paycheck Protection Program because of their size. They’re not quite big enough or the nature of their business to be eligible for the upcoming Main Street Lending Facility… I get the sense there are going to be some people caught in between.”
Senator Tillis was not alone. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) criticized the management of PPP, naming flaws in the program’s implementation, and commented:
“It seems to me we need to take action here to prevent a bad situation from getting even worse.”
When pressed by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) to describe his outlook for the national economy if Congress does – or does not – act, Chairman Powell responded:
“My concern has been the risk and possibility of longer run damage to the economy through unnecessary insolvencies on the part of households and businesses and long-term unemployment… if we find ourselves in that place, we may have to do more… I do think we need to take a step back and ask, over time, is it enough? We need to be prepared to act further.”
While some in Congress would delay action to support the American economy, Chairman Powell and the senators are raising the right questions. With nearly 40 million Americans filing for unemployment, 100,000 businesses already permanently closed, and even more small businesses on the brink of collapse, now is not the time for a timid response.
Recent polls show broad bipartisan support for aggressive action by the federal government to save businesses – and the jobs and communities that depend on them.