MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Another round of $130 billion of loan money is available to help small businesses during the pandemic.

President Donald Trump signed the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program over the weekend, but the first rounds of PPP loans have been criticized for going to large — rather than small — businesses.

And according to Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig, who authored the latest PPP bill, that’s changing.

“In the second round in the negotiation process, we did a better job of making sure that we carved out dollars for the smallest of small businesses,” Craig said.

She says that is also true of this third round of PPP money that is available now.

“Take another look at the program. If you have trouble finding a lender, call my district office, we will help get the list,” Craig said.

She is also pushing for yet a fourth round of loans that would allow the hardest-hit businesses to apply again.

READ MORE: Companies Tied To Minnesota Lawmakers Jeremy Miller, Ryan Winkler Benefited From PPP Loans

“Only if you have fewer than 100 employees, and only if your revenue has suffered by 50% or greater,” Craig said.

Some Minnesota businesses have faced the double hit of COVID-19 and damage by riots following the death of George Floyd. Legislators representing these districts say the help is critical.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, whose own father died last month from COVID-19, is fighting for more relief for families.

“We’re also seeing people say, you know, $1,200 stimulus check one time isn’t enough,” Omar said.

The U.S. Senate needs to pass the Heroes Act and grant another round of stimulus checks, and extend the extra $600 a week federal unemployment benefit beyond the end of this month.

State Sen. Jeff Hayden, who represents the devastated district where George Floyd was killed, says he is hoping a state relief package can pass in the legislatures next special session, which is expected to start next week.

“We’re looking at what are those needs, what might they need to have, and then what can the legislature do,” Hayden said.

Small businesses have until August 8 to apply for the new round of PPP loan money.

Esme Murphy

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