CHARLESTON — During a Friday press call, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., discussed the need for more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as her appointment to President Donald Trump’s Congressional Economic Task Force.

Capito said that as of April 13, over 5,200 small business in West Virginia had been approved for loans totaling more than $1 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program.

However, the program has since run out of money, with many more businesses still needing assistance.

“I’m very concerned about this. I support Sen. (Mitch) McConnell’s effort to put $250 billion into a plan that we know works. It keeps the connection between the employee and employer and keeps our small businesses’ heads above water because of the forgivable nature of the loan,” she said.

Capito expressed her disappointment that the issue has gotten caught up in politics about “refilling the pot.”

Capito said it should be unanimous decision to continue to put money into a program that is working and supporting those that need it.

“There are people wanting to add things in. ... Every time you add something or make a tweak, you add regulations, you add guidance, you add time. We are just now getting to the point where our sole proprietors, say a hairdresser or somebody, are being able to enroll and getting the door slammed into their face because of the political nature of the push-back... Just put more money in it, that makes more sense to me,” she said.

Since the program was started April 3 and was depleted in 10 days, she believes the demand for the aid was greater than what was initially expected.

“I don’t think we knew the depth of the economic desperation we would be in with people being laid off and business being shut down,” she said.

Capito said the president’s Economic Task Force is all about “getting back to work, opening up and trying to figure out the best way to do this with the heavy weigh-in from the health professionals.”

She told President Trump that testing has to be front and center in the Mountain State, especially antibody testing, which can be useful to businesses and governments by telling them if a person has built up an immunity or had the virus in the system.

“The president expressed his hope that that would come sooner rather than later and be a very simplified test,” she said.

Capito said she believes the state is anxious and ready to open up again gradually. She said different ways to open up will be looked into under the guidance of the governor.

“Maybe certain segments, certain counties, I don’t know how he’s going to want to do it, but to open up some of the smaller businesses that have smaller clientele to be able to move forward,” she said.

Capito cautioned that opening prematurely and having to re-close could be more damaging than what the state and nation has already experienced.

“That’s why I think we have to be very careful, that’s why I think the use of testing is critical and that’s why I think the whole county can’t expect to open unilaterally... As anxious as we are to get going, I don’t think anybody is anxious to get going if A, it’s going to reoccur or B, people are more in danger getting sick,” she said.