U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday, April 19, that Democrats and the White House are close to sealing a deal of “phase 3.5” response to the CCP Virus pandemic. The package, worth more than $470 billion, will be voted on in the Senate on Monday, reported Fox News. The previous $350 billion funds were depleted last Thursday.
Included in the new package is $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), making available grants to small businesses that are finding it hard to make payroll, sources have told Fox News.
Economic disaster loans worth $60 billion are included separately, also $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for CCP Virus testing.
Late Monday, House Democrats participated in a conference call to discuss the next steps in the process.
There is concern among Democrats of a perceived lack of funds for both state and local governments in the planned bill, with some Republicans indicating a reluctance to address other measures related to the CCP Virus, as measures already under consideration will cost huge amounts.
“We won’t know if we are able to clear it by unanimous consent until we have a product,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), told Fox News on Monday afternoon. “The talks are continuing. … And we’re getting closer, and hopefully, we’ll have an agreement of some kind later today.”
McConnell is critical of Democrats causing delays in replenishing the PPP, which was emptied of its funds last week.
“It’s now been four days since the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money. Republicans have been trying to secure more funding for this critical program for a week and a half now,” McConnell said. “At this hour, our Democratic colleagues are still prolonging their discussions with the administration, so the Senate, regretfully, will not be able to pass more funding for Americans’ paychecks today.”
McConnell added, “However, since this is so urgent, I have asked that the Senate meet again tomorrow in a new session that was not previously scheduled, and the Democratic leader has agreed to my request. Colleagues it’s past time, past time to get this done for the country.”