Trump caught flat-footed as reporter asks him about Paycheck Protection Program gaps
Donald Trump (Screen Shot)

At Monday's White House press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, a reporter caught Trump off-guard with a question about a limitation of the Paycheck Protection Program — the stimulus package's small-business loan program — that is leading to unintended consequences.

The reporter brought up the case of a small business owner who is unable to receive funding because he has a nonviolent felony conviction within the last five years — and felony convictions bar people from taking out loans under the program. As a consequence, he is being forced to lay off a number of employees — many of whom are also rehabilitated ex-convicts who were being given a second chance at being productive members of society.

The president seemed unaware of the problem, saying only, "I'll have that checked out."

The felony ban is an unintended consequence that arose from Congress attempting to rush through passage of the stimulus package, officially known as the CARES Act. Such bans are commonly attached to federal business funding, and Congress simply copied language from a previous bill that contained this provision — but it is now causing problems as several people are arbitrarily cut off from loans that are essential to prevent widespread business layoffs.