Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Democrats and the Trump administration have struck a deal on $450 billion package that includes additional funds for the emergency small business loan program, as well as funding for hospitals and testing and that the Senate could vote on this deal later Tuesday afternoon.
“There is still a few more i’s to dot and t’s to cross, but we have a deal,” Schumer said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning. “I think we will be able to pass this today.”
The new deal will provide roughly $350 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that last week exhausted the funds allocated created by the $2.2 trillion relief bill President Trump signed late last month. Parts of the funding for the PPP will dedicate $60 billion exclusively to the “unbanked, to the minorities, to the rural areas, and to all of those little mom and pop stores that don’t have a good banking connection and need the help,” Schumer said. Along with replenish funding for PPP, the Minority Leader said the deal also includes $75 billion for in assistance for hospitals and $25 billion to expand testing.
“We insisted that a chunk of the money be separate from the competition with the bigger companies, you know the ones that have two, three, 400 people and a relationship with the banks, and we got $125 billion that will go exclusively to the unbanked,” Schumer stated.
Schumer said that he, along with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were on the phone past midnight and came to an agreement “on just about every issue.”
As part of the $25 billion for expand testing in package, $11 billion will be given to states for testing, as the rest of the $14 billion will be devoted to a national testing plan and will be given to federal agencies to invest in labs and new technologies.
“This is one of the last things that we had to hold out for. We do believe the states need money, we do believe as the president and the governors do that it is a partnership, but we need a national strategy as the governors have said,” he said. “To get the kinds of testing that is done, to get the contract tracing, to make the tests free, you need a significant federal involvement, you need a national strategy, and the President and Mnuchin and Meadows agreed to that, to their credit and it will be in the proposal.”
He said Democrats would ask for more money to allocate directly to states in the next coronavirus relief package, which the administration and congressional leaders are expected to negotiate later sometime next month when they return from recess.
The Senate is scheduled to meet Tuesday in a pro-forma session at 4 p.m., with leaders seeking to have the legislation approved unanimously. The House, on the other hand is expected to pass the new deal by a recorded vote on Thursday due to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) threatening once again to prevent any legislation related to addressing the coronavirus crisis to pass by voice vote or unanimous consent.
President Trump tweeted his approval for the new deal Tuesday afternoon, writing “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.” He added after signing the bill, discussions on the next legislative will focus on funding to states “for lost revenues” from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as infrastructures and tax incentives.
….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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
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