Senate hopes to vote on more small business relief funding

Posted at 7:27 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 09:47:16-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LEX 18) — Days after the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money, leaving many small businesses without relief aid, lawmakers plan to continue pushing for more funding.

Congress gave about $350 billion to the funding program, but it didn't last long. Republicans and Democrats have been stuck in a deadlock over the additional funding. The main setback has been Democrats pushing to include more money for hospitals and state and local governments in the deal.

Negotiations over the weekend centered on a $450 billion bill for small business funding, and also aid to hospitals and virus testing programs.

"Testing is one of the places where we want the language to be as good as we can agree to, that we need a national strategy for testing. Testing is the key that opens the door to our economy,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A session wasn't scheduled for Tuesday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for one Monday, saying it's an urgent matter.

"Republicans have been trying to secure more funding for this critical program for a week and a half now. At this hour, our Democratic colleagues are still prolonging their discussions with the Administration,” said Senator McConnell. “Colleagues, it's past time to get this done for the country.”

House Speaker Pelosi told House Democrats that she hopes lawmakers can agree on a deal soon. If a deal is reached, Senate is expected to vote Tuesday afternoon.