500,000 coronavirus small business loans approved so far, Kudlow says

Paycheck Protection Program loans total $128B in less than a week

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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he’s hoping loans for small businesses will help the U.S. economy “reopen” from the coronavirus pandemic contraction in just a matter of weeks.

“The mitigation efforts seem to be bearing fruit,” Kudlow told FOX Business’ Charles Payne during the America Works Together virtual town hall Thursday. “The numbers are enormously improved. Let us hope we can reopen this economy in the next four to eight weeks.”

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters about the impact of the Coronavirus on markets in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

MNUCHIN ASKING FOR $250B TO REPLENISH SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAM

Kudlow said that 500,000 loans had been approved since the Paycheck Protection Program opened last Friday, accounting for $128 billion of the $350 billion fund. Nearly 4,000 bank lenders have participated.

“This thing is wide, sweeping,” he said. “It’s a gigantic program.”

Loans to small businesses through the PPP are forgivable, provided the businesses continue paying their employees.

KUDLOW HOPEFUL CORONAVIRUS-SIDELINED ECONOMY WILL REOPEN IN 4-8 WEEKS

The Federal Reserve also announced on Thursday that it would provide $2.3 trillion in loans for businesses as part of its Main Street Lending Program. And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked Congress earlier this week for an additional $250 billion for the PPP.

“Everybody who wants a loan to stay in business, to keep their payroll intact, to cover expenses, everybody who wants one is going to be able to get one,” Kudlow said.

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FED LAUNCHES $2.3T LOAN PROGRAM TO SUPPORT MAIN STREET

Kudlow said he expected all the relief for businesses would keep Americans working and help bring back workers who had lost their jobs as the pandemic’s side effects hit the economy.

“For a whole bunch of years, you can see it in the labor numbers, people didn’t want to work. And I think that, if I may, it’s cool to work,” he said. “Your neighbor, your brother in law, the guy down the street — working has become cool again. If you looked, one of my favorites was the Millennials, the youngsters, their participation rates and their job increases were phenomenal before this virus came in. And you know me, I also think work is a virtue and I think work is a godly virtue as well. But I believe it’s been cool to work, and people are going to want to come back.”

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