Posted by 09 April 2020
Rival plans for coronavirus aid failed to advance in the Senate this week.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to advance the Republicans’ version of a fourth coronavirus relief bill. That legislation contained $250 billion in new spending for loans to small businesses affected by the epidemic. These loans would be forgiven if small businesses met certain qualifications, such as keeping their employees hired. The third coronavirus aid bill set up this loan program with $350 billion in funding, but it is in danger of being exhausted by applicants.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer objected to the consideration of legislation to provide this new money. Instead, he proposed adding new spending for other areas in this bill. Some of the things that Senate Democrats want included are a $100 billion aid program for hospitals, $150 billion in funding for state and local governments, and a more generous food stamp program.
There is some disagreement about members of Congress and Trump Administration officials about what the federal government should do next to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic. Sen. McConnell and the White House are pressing for a quick infusion of cash to the small business loan program, then putting off a larger aid bill for future discussion.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he is not opposed to some of the ideas proposed by Democrats, but does not support enacting them right now. Sen. Schumer says that Congress should not wait to provide money that he says is desperately needed right now.
Do you support including funding for hospitals, state and local governments, and food stamps in a bill that includes more aid for small businesses affected by the coronavirus?