Billionaire investor Warren Buffett urged Congress Tuesday to renew the Paycheck Protection Program and said while many small businesses have been shut down, other companies have prospered.
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, one of the most renowned investors in the U.S., said Tuesday that Congress must work to immediately extend the Paycheck Protection Program to help struggling small businesses, according to CNBC. He said government-imposed coronavirus lockdown measures have favored some businesses while harming many others.
“I think the country owes it to the millions of small-business people … just renew the PPP and get us to the end of the tunnel,” Buffett told CNBC host Becky Quick. “When we went into World War II, a lot of industries were shut down; everything went to the defense production. Well, we’ve shut down a lot of people in this particular induced recession and others are prospering.”
“It’s an economic war,” Buffett said.
Coronavirus stimulus package negotiations have stalled since the summer with Democratic and Republican lawmakers unable to reach an agreement, CNBC reported. Meanwhile, small businesses continue to buckle under continued local restrictions.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a $908 billion stimulus package Monday evening in the latest attempt to break the stalemate on Capitol Hill, according to CNBC. The bill included $300 billion in small business aid.
Buffett said Congress is “in the process of dashing the dreams of tens of thousands,” by delaying small business relief, CNBC reported.
“The PPP is a necessary lifeline for millions of American small businesses suffering through the fallout of another wave of Covid-19 and related state and local restrictions on business activity,” Alfredo Ortiz, president and chief executive officer of the Job Creators Network said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Lawmakers must pass this extension immediately so that small businesses can keep their doors open and staff employed until herd immunity is reached in a few short months,” Ortiz said.
New jobless claims increased to 853,000 Thursday signaling a slowing economic recovery. The U.S. added just 245,000 jobs in November, while unemployment fell to 6.7%, according to the Department of Labor data released Dec. 4.
However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged at the end of November, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in the index’s history due to positive vaccine developments, according to CNBC. Health care providers began inoculating Americans with pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Monday.
Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have been steadily increasing in the U.S. since mid-October, according to The COVID Tracking Project. On Monday, the U.S. reported 1,358 new coronavirus-related deaths and 193,384 new cases while 110,549 Americans remained hospitalized from the virus.
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