More on the nearly $500bn coronavirus aid package that Congress passed:
The aid package is the second for small business, which have been hit hard by the pandemic and shed millions of jobs. The first proved controversial, with big businesses including Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse receiving millions while many small businesses missed out. Shake Shack has now handed back the $10m loan it received. Ruth’s Chris – which had revenues of $468m last year – received $20m.
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said that larger firms would now be blocked from using the new program.
Small businesses in hard-hit New York were skeptical that the new money would get to them in time, having missed out on the first wave of payments. “This is going to be the end of us all,” said Brian Colgan, who runs ACME, a props and furniture rental business in Brooklyn.
He said none of his small business contacts had received funds.
Trump says he will be suspending immigration for 60 days
A small wrap here on the meeting this afternoon between the president and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office, per Cuomo.
He said, in a quick call to MSNBC afterward, that he had a “functional and effective” conversation with Trump and tried to keep the focus on testing and state budget problems, Reuters reports.
“We have a tremendous job that we have to get done and put everything else aside and do the job, and the tone of the conversation was very functional and effective,” Cuomo said.
“I stayed focused on what we were there to talk about and for me the substantive agenda was testing – ‘Who does what? How do we get it up the scale?’ – and somebody has to stand up for funding for the states.”
Cuomo, a Democrat who has clashed with Trump during the coronavirus outbreak, did not discuss details of their talk, but described the meeting as “honest and open.”
“The president is communicative about his feelings and I’m communicative about what I think,” he said.
With social distancing and lockdowns showing some positive results, Cuomo said on Monday he could begin to consider how to reopen a state that ranges from New York City, with more than 8 million people, to farm country and sparsely populated towns upstate.
The White House did not immediately provide an account of the meeting.
Cuomo said he sought a face-to-face conversation with the Republican president to hash out issues around the need for more testing capability.
“We have to get this ironed out. This is a very big issue,” Cuomo said.
He said testing volume needed to increase tenfold and leaders needed to discuss how the federal government can help and what the states can do to make enough tests available.
“That is the issue for the country right now I think,” Cuomo said. “It’s a benchmark – ‘Where are we? Are we on the increase, are we on the plateau or are we on the descent?’”