Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has revealed a deal has been reached on "every major issue" of a $500 billion stimulus aid package that will provide money to small businesses and hospitals struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Associated Press. "We have a deal and I think we'll pass it today," Schumer said Tuesday morning on CNN, noting that staff is still "dotting the I's and crossing the T's."
More than $300 billion of the proposed stimulus package would feed into an existing small-business payroll loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, that ran out of money last week, with the remainder of the money going to support hospitals and boost testing for COVID-19, which would allow states to make more educated decisions about when to begin reopening public spaces. If the legislation comes together quickly, a Tuesday afternoon Senate session would be the first opportunity for its passage, although the House has reportedly planned to call lawmakers to Washington D.C. for a vote for later in the week, according to a schedule update from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
While the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funding Thursday after approving nearly 1.7 million loans, companies applying for loans have been left in the lurch as they seek government help to keep afloat. Democrats and Republicans have been clashing over providing stimulus money to state and local governments that have been struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Democrats proposing $150 billion to boost their budgets and GOP leaders opposing the proposition staunchly when it comes to the package in question.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a speedy passage of the stimulus package Monday during a brief session, saying, "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. 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."