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Federal lending program to protect small businesses runs out of money

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FILE – In this April 2, 2020 file photo, a notice of closure is posted at The Great Frame Up in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. The government is closing in on the $349 billion lending limit on its Paycheck Protection Program that is sending relief money to the nation’s small businesses. The Small Business Administration says that it has approved more than 1.6 million loans worth more than $339 billion. The program will likely reach its ceiling Thursday, April 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

WASHINGTON (KETK/AP) – The federal Paycheck Protection Program is on hold after running out of the $349 billion in funds on Thursday morning.

Thousands of small businesses whose applications have not been processed will be forced to wait for Congress to approve of a Trump administration request for an additional $250 billion.

Both chambers of Congress are currently on recess until May 4 and it remains unclear if they will return before then.

Top Congressional Democrats and Republicans have haggled over whether to approve a new bill that would be identical to the first or to add additional provisions. As of this writing, it is unclear when a deal might be reached.

This comes the same morning as the new jobs report that showed an additional 5.2 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, making it 22 million total over the last month. This easily smashes any previous record.

Some financial experts are worried that the unemployment level could reach levels not seen since the Great Depression nearly 90 years ago.

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