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Senate passes more aid for small businesses, hospitals and COVID-19 testing

Posted at 7:25 AM, Apr 22, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Days after the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money, the Senate unanimously passed a bill for more aid to small businesses.

The bill includes 484 billion dollars for more small business loans, and funding for hospitals and nationwide testing.

The breakdown includes more than $300 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loan for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.

Republicans and Democrats were at odds for nearly two weeks over what to include in the deal. Democrats pushed for help for healthcare workers and testing.

"We need to dramatically, dramatically expand testing capacity and frequency,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We don't have enough tests. That cry rings from one end of America to the other. Urban, suburban, rural, north, east, south and west. We don't have enough tests."

"At the core of our agreement is 320 billion more for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is already saving millions of small business jobs and helping Americans get paychecks instead of pink slips,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The House is expected to vote on the bill Thursday. President Trump tweeted that if passed, he will sign it into law.