Thursday, the Democrat controlled House passed a $484-B interim coronavirus bill that includes additional money for the small-business loan program, as well as for hospitals and testing, making way for the legislation to become law by Friday.
The bill includes more than $320-B for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act passed late last month. The program, which ran out of money because of heavy demand from big business and heavily endowed Ivy League universities (which they have been shamed into giving back0, provides loans to small businesses that keep their employees on the payroll, that become grants when conditions are met.
About $60-B of the additional PPP funding would be set aside for businesses that do not have established national banking relationships. Expanding access to the aid was a priority for lawmakers who worried that some small businesses could not access the money.
The bill also provides $60-B in loans and grants for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund, $75-B for hospitals and $25-B for coronavirus testing.
The interim bill does not include the ‘Pork Barrel’ funding for states and local governments that Democrats pleaded for and held up for 3 wks..
President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law Friday, Saturday latest.
House members arrived at the Capitol building Thursday wearing face masks and silk scarves and were instructed to remain 6 ft apart. Members were broken up into 8 separate groups based on their last name for voting in an effort to limit the number of people on the House floor during the vote.
Both parties are referring to the bill as interim legislation meant to bridge the gap between the $2.3-T CARES Act and the next round of coronavirus aid/relief legislation.
Speak Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) said their proposal for the next round of Pork filled legislation will include election reform, hazard pay for frontline workers, money to states and local governments, money for the postal service, and more.
The Senate is likely to block it, as the Republicans are raising issues with the Democrats’ priorities for the next bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said this week that he is “not ready to just send a blank check down to states and local governments to spend any way they choose to,” stressing that more funding “has to be coronavirus-related.”
Leader McConnell said that the Senate would have to come back to Washington to pass the next measure, thus creating a logistical hurdle for lawmakers who have been in their districts since the Senate adjourned at the end of March.
“We will not try to pass another rescue package by consent,” Leader McConnell said Wednesday. The Senate has passed previous coronavirus legislation by voice vote or unanimous consent, meaning that lawmakers were not on record voting for or against the bills.
“My view is we ought to bring everybody back, have full participation to begin to think about the implications to the country’s future for this level of national debt.“
House members had to return to Washington this week to vote on the interim bill after they could not agree to vote by unanimous consent, which would not have required all of them to return.
Have a healthy day, Keep the Faith!