Posted by 13 April 2020
Senators today put off consideration until Thursday of new money for a federal aid fund for small businesses affected by the coronavirus. Partisan differences are standing in the way of quick consideration of a new infusion of federal cash.
The Senate met in a brief session today but conducted no business. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set Thursday as the day the body will consider an additional $250 billion in funding for the small business loan program. Congress established these loans in the last coronavirus aid bill. This will provide forgivable loans for small businesses that continue to pay employees through June. If these businesses do this, they will not have to repay their loans.
Trump Administration officials warn that the initial $350 billion provided to this loan program will be depleted soon. Some say this could occur as soon as the end of the week.
Sen. McConnell is pushing for a fourth aid bill that would provide another $250 billion for this program and nothing else. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) supports this additional money, but also wants the bill to include funding for hospitals and state and local governments. Sen. McConnell has said these additional priorities should be discussed in a separate bill.
Neither side is backing down from its demands. With no easy path to enact this bill, Sen. McConnell said that the Senate will reconvene on Thursday to consider the bill. It remains to be seen if it can be passed if Democrats object.
Do you think the Senate should wait until Thursday to provide more funding for loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus?