BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — Congressional leaders are trying to figure out their next move after President Donald Trump threatened to veto the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, saying $600 stimulus checks should be increased to $2,000. For struggling Bay Area businesses and families, even a small delay in approving aid could be a big deal.
After a long year full of ups and downs, Revival Bar and Kitchen in Berkeley is busy again preparing holiday meals to go. Owner and Chef Amy Murray says she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for aid by the federal government in the early days of the pandemic.
“We got the first PPP loan which we were so grateful for, it saved us,” Murray told KPIX 5. “Without it, we would have not survived.”
The COVID relief bill would offer another round of PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans to small businesses, in addition to the much-needed stimulus check. But as of Wednesday, that has all hit a road block.
Dr. Barry Eichengreen, UC Berkeley Professor of Economics said, “This was all done behind closed doors at the last minute. And that’s not a way to run a railway.”
Eichengreen explains this bill is just a bridge to the next Congress and administration coming in in the New Year. What the President’s objections to the bill does is delay relief to those who need it the most.
Eichengreen told KPIX 5, “We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The good outweighs the bad and we need to encourage our congress people to keep pushing and keep working on behalf of people who need help.”
Meanwhile, Revival Bar and Kitchen is comforted by the support of the community, those who put in orders for holiday meals and take-out. Murray is hoping for the next PPP loan, but the reality is the only way to get out of the financial hole the pandemic has left behind is for the loans to be forgiven.
“There’s no catching up in 2020. There’s only forgiveness and there’s miracles,” Murray said.