Lawmakers and the White House finally reached an agreement Tuesday afternoon to replenish the payment protection program fund after Democrats blocked the measure because it didn’t include enough relief for other programs.
The legislation’s main purpose is to refill the fund after it ran out of money less than two weeks after it launched.
President Donald Trump urged Republicans to back the interim relief package, which other than PPP funding includes money for hospitals and testing.
‘I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding for PPP, Hospitals, and Testing,’ the president wrote on Twitter.
Democrats say Republicans would not let up on adding in more money for state and local government, but Trump insisted that would be included in the next far-reaching CARES package.
‘After I sign this Bill, we will begin discussions on the next Legislative Initiative with fiscal relief to State/Local Governments for lost revenues from COVID 19, much needed Infrastructure Investments for Bridges, Tunnels, Broadband, Tax Incentives for Restaurants, Entertainment, Sports, and Payroll Tax Cuts to increase Economic Growth,’ the president tweeted.
The Senate vowed to pass legislation to expand the payment protection program early this week – and initially said a deal would be on the table by Monday morning.
Donald Trump pushed for Republicans to support the interim relief bill, even though additions were made that were not part of the original proposal, including money for testing and hospitals
The president said he would begin discussions to send more relief and funding to state and local governments after this bill passes
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday the Senate will act on an interim relief legislation to expand small business relief this afternoon
‘We came to an agreement on just about every issue,’ Schumer told CNN of a call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House officials. ‘We have a deal and I believe we’ll pass it today’
Schumer said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were able to reach an agreement with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (pictured), who is spearheading the negotiations between the White House and Capitol Hill
WHAT’S IN THE $450 BILLION CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL?
Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on an interim relief package Tuesday. The Senate will bring the measure to the floor Tuesday afternoon then pass it off to the House, where it is expected to pass by the end of the week.
- $320 billion for Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program
– $125 billion of that will go to the minority and women-owned businesses and ‘little mom-and-pop stores’ that don’t have a good banking connections
- $30 billion to increase production and distribution of coronavirus tests
– $11 billion of that will go to the states to boost testing at a local-level
- $75 billion for hospitals
- $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN Tuesday morning that he was on the phone with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin past midnight to reach a deal.
‘We came to an agreement on just about every issue,’ Schumer said of the phone call.
‘Staff was up all night writing,’ he continued of the bipartisan efforts to pass more relief in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. ‘There’s still a few more i’s to dot and t’s to cross, but we have a deal and I believe we’ll pass it today.’
Schumer and Mnnchin claimed in interviews with Sunday shows that they would likely reach an agreement on the interim relief package by Sunday evening or Monday morning – but no such deal was reached.
Instead, the Senate insists they will vote on the legislation during a pro forma session scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Further indications that the $450 billion package will pass the Senate Tuesday comes from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who called members to return to Washington D.C. by Thursday.
‘If the Senate passes this legislation on Tuesday, the House could meet as early as Thursday, April 23rd at 10:00 a.m. to consider it,’ Hoyer said in a statement calling congressmen and women to use Wednesday to travel back to the District.
He also said that the lower chamber would not only consider, but likely pass the bill before the end of the week through a recorded vote.
‘Members are further advised that at this time we do not expect House Republicans to allow passage of this legislation to occur by a voice vote, therefore a recorded vote on the interim legislation is likely in the House this week,’ the Maryland Democrat said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also said Tuesday that he was calling members back to Washington D.C. by Thursday as he expects the lower chamber to vote on the legislation by the end of the week
The deal comes as thousands of small businesses across the country have had to close their doors when all non-essential businesses were ordered to close in the midst of lockdown orders and social distancing guidelines
During a call with reporters Tuesday morning, Hoyer said the House expects well over half of House members to return to Washington, D.C. for the discussions and vote later this week.
‘We are asking every member to return that can return,’ Hoyer said. ‘And we are hoping that is a large number.’
Another version of the bill was brought to the Senate floor by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but aws blocked by Democrats who claimed the legislation did not include enough of their demands.
The interim bill originally only included $250 billion to expand the PPP for small business grants, which ran dry of its original $350 billion less than two weeks after the program launched and applications were opened.
PPP was passed as part of the CARES Act at the end of March and grants $10 million loans to businesses with 500 employees or less that are struggling in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The funds are meant to help businesses avoid shuttering by paying their rent and other essential bills and keeping employees on the payroll.
Democrats, however, wanted the interim relief package to include more money for other programs.
The final agreement, Schumer revealed Tuesday, allocates $125 billion of the money for small businesses for those that do not already have good banking connections or are mom and pop, minority or women-owned businesses.
Schumer also reiterated that they were able to reach a deal to include $75 billion extra for hospitals, while he admitted Democrats had to concede on getting money passed for state and local government.