Members of Congress have reportedly agreed to a new extension of economic stimulus amid the coronavirus pandemic, totaling $470 billion.
Millions of Americans are out of work and thousands of businesses have been left in limbo as the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funds, but Fox News reports the new “phase 3.5” will include a $310 billion refill.
“A separate provision worth $60 billion (including $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in grants) would be allocated to economic disaster loans. Also included: $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing,” Fox News adds.
According to the report, the agreement was struck between House Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The Senate will take up the measure later this afternoon with the House considering it later this week.
From the report:
Republicans and Democrats are still negotiating over state-driven approaches for testing. So far, there are not specific strings as to how hospitals would use the money.
If an accord comes together, the Senate could move the package on Tuesday when it convenes at 4 p.m. ET – with a skeleton crew on hand – likely by unanimous consent, meaning no other senator present in the chamber objects. Then, the bill would move to the House, possibly Wednesday or Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor on Monday afternoon where he said he was unsure if the bill would be allowed to pass via unanimous consent of if members would have to return to vote on it.
“We won’t know if we are able to clear it by unanimous consent until we have a product,” he said per Fox News. “The talks are continuing. … And we’re getting closer, and hopefully we’ll have an agreement of some kind later today.”
“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 continued. “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.”
He 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.”