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SBA aid program runs out of money

The government's key COVID-19 relief program for small businesses has run out of money.

The Small Business Administration said Wednesday that the Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted. As of Sunday, the PPP had given out nearly 10.8 million loans worth more than $780 billion since April of last year.

The program, which has run out of cash and refunded by Congress twice before, was scheduled to expire May 31. It's not yet known if lawmakers will approve another round of funding.

The SBA said in a statement that loan applications that have been approved would still be funded.

 

Biden touts relief aid for restaurants

President Joe Biden made a Cinco de Mayo taco and enchilada run Wednesday to highlight his administration's $28.6 billion program to help eateries that lost business because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden visited Taqueria Las Gemelas in Washington on Wednesday and ordered lunch. The restaurant is owned in part by Mexican immigrants and was a beneficiary of a pilot version of the restaurant relief program.

Biden says the restaurant industry was "badly hurt" by the pandemic. The aid for eateries is part of the administration's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The White House says 186,200 restaurants, bars and other eligible businesses applied for the program over its first two days of accepting applications.

 

Office Depot parent to split up company

ODP Corp., the operator of Office Depot, intends to split the company into a pair of independent, publicly traded firms, opening the way for a potential sale of its retail operation.

The move, announced Wednesday, comes after rival Staples spent the early part of this year trying to take over the company for $2.1 billion, a bid that ODP rejected in January.

But by creating two separate companies, ODP is now positioned to offload its retail operation, which has been shrinking for years. After the Staples deal fizzled, USR Parent, the firm that controls Staples, indicated it would explore the possibility of buying Office Depot's consumer business, among others.

In a conference call with analysts Wednesday, ODP executive vice president David Bleisch said the company had not discussed the split with Staples.

 

Boeing crash victims blast FAA regulators

Family members who lost relatives in the second deadly crash of a Boeing 737 Max met with Transportation Department officials Wednesday to renew their push for the ouster of top federal aviation officials, whom they accuse of being too cozy with Boeing.

The families demanded that the Biden administration replace the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Stephen Dickson, the FAA's top safety official, Ali Bahrami, and two others.

Several hundred relatives and friends of passengers who died in the 2019 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Max signed a letter to President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg demanding the changes.

"The FAA has been, and continues to be, more interested in protecting Boeing and the aviation industry than safety," they wrote.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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