Warren Buffett On Stimulus Gridlock: ‘Just Renew The PPP And Get Us To The End Of The Tunnel’
As time runs out for Congress to agree on the next federal stimulus package before the end of the year, billionaire investor Warren Buffett is pushing for lawmakers to act quickly on another round of emergency funding for small businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic.
In a Tuesday interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Buffett suggested that millions of small businesses have become “collateral damage” in the country’s efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus through lockdown orders and restrictions on economic activity.
As a result, Buffett said, Congress has a responsibility to provide more relief to small business owners across the country.
He specifically pushed for a renewal of the popular Paycheck Protection Program, which was set up under the CARES Act in March and provided more than $500 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic.
There is widespread support in Washington for a renewal of the PPP, but it’s too soon to tell whether that renewal—along with a spate of other relief measures Congress is considering—will pass before the end of the year.
Buffett acknowledged that any program as large as the PPP would inevitably encounter incidences of fraud, but said that fraud shouldn’t “turn you away from something where millions of people are being helped.”
“I think the country owes it to the millions of small-business people,” Buffett told CNBC. “Just renew the PPP and get us to the end of the tunnel.”
60%. That’s the portion of closures of businesses listed on Yelp that have become permanent during the pandemic, according to the company’s most recent Local Economic Impact Report. That translates to nearly 100,000 businesses that have closed since March 1.
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