Senate Democrats Thursday thwarted a Republican plan to add $250 billion to the government’s small-business-lending program, insisting that the bill also include aid to hospitals, healthcare systems, state and local governments and food-assistance programs.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then adjourned the body until Monday. McConnell argued that these issues can be addressed in the next major package.
On Thursday McConnell tried to approve the GOP measure by a unanimous vote, as few senators were left in the Capitol. But Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) objected, quashing the legislation.
Lawmakers in both parties agree that an interim measure is necessary to buttress the small-business-loan program, which had a rocky rollout this week.
Businesses have complained that they can’t easily wend their way through the complicated system to get loans and that not enough money is available.
The interim package would be a prelude to a fourth major aid package to counteract the economic effects of the coronavirus epidemic.
Democrats have talked of coming up with their own interim bill. So it’s unclear when and if the parties will work together.
But many analysts say they will ultimately come to an agreement, given the dire financial situation confronting so many businesses and individuals.
The Trump administration has asked Congress for more money for the small-business loans, as demand for them has been so strong.
Congress authorized disbursing $350 billion as part of the $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package passed last month.