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McConnell Seeking More Small-Business Aid - Rubio Calls for at Least $200B to $250B

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hoped the Senate would approve additional funding for small businesses. Sen. Marco Rubio says at least $200 billion to $250 billion is needed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he hoped to garner on Thursday  additional funding for small businesses that have been bludgeoned by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a statement Tuesday, the Senate majority leader (R-Kentucky) said he would work with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York). 

McConnell said he hoped to approve further funding for the Paycheck Protection Program by unanimous consent or voice vote during the next scheduled Senate session on Thursday.”

Meanwhile Mnuchin said Tuesday on Twitter that at the direction of President Donald Trump, he has spoken with congressional leaders to obtain an additional $250 billion for the program "to make sure small businesses get the money they need!" 

Mnuchin said he had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said on Twitter that "we will need at least another $200 billion to $250 billion" for the program.

Last month, Trump signed into law the $2.1 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which allocated $350 billion to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program

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The program, sponsored by the Small Business Administration, provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses with the goal of helping them keep their employees employed during the covid-19 pandemic and any resulting economic downturn.

"In just a few days, this program has become overwhelmingly popular," McConnell said.

"But it is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry. That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy and every day counts."

Schumer's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Senate is not been expected to be back in session prior to April 20, but McConnell said on Tuesday that a session was scheduled for Thursday.

He said the Senate could approve the funds during Thursday’s pro-forma session by voice vote or unanimous consent, which would allow almost all members to stay home.

Stocks were rising Tuesday on continued optimism that major economies across the globe were seeing signs the pandemic could be slowing.