Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrives for a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington in this March 20, 2020, file photo. Credit: Susan Walsh | AP

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Republicans in the U.S. Senate, including Susan Collins of Maine, are advancing a measure to add funding for the paycheck protection program, but some House Democrats say there are other needs that must also be met.

The Republican bill would provide another $250 billion for the small-business loan program aimed at keeping workers on the payroll during the pandemic. Collins supports the bill, and said the program will soon commit all $349 billion appropriated last month.

“I don’t want all of those employees of small businesses not to be able to get eight weeks of paychecks because the funding has been depleted,” she said.

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U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, said it’s true that the loan program needs more funding, but he said hospitals and other medical care providers are short of supplies, including personal protective equipment. He said the legislation should address all crucial needs, not just target small businesses.

“We have no choice but to act to help our hospitals and our health care system in general,” he said. “Meanwhile, we continue to see a shortage of protective equipment for health care workers. I don’t see how they can only be talking about increasing the funding for small business.”

Because the Senate is not in formal session Thursday, the vote can be blocked by a single senator objecting to considering the bill.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.