Bipartisan Deal Reached on Small Business CCP Virus Relief, Trump Ready to Sign

Democrats and the White House have reached a deal on a new round of CCP virus aid, which could be approved by the Senate on Tuesday afternoon if senators agree.

“I welcome this bipartisan agreement and hope the Senate will quickly pass it once members have reviewed the final text,” Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement in confirming the deal, accusing the Democrats of engaging “in a search for partisan ‘leverage’ that never materialized.” The bill could be passed by the end of Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and other top Congressional leaders confirmed they had reached a deal, with some saying it would be passed by Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The legislation, in this round of stimulus funding, would deliver a reported nearly $500 billion to hospitals, small businesses, and for testing. It comes days after the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—passed last month under the third stimulus package—ran out of money, meaning no new loans can be issued until it is replenished.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told CNN on Tuesday he believed the Senate would pass legislation during its afternoon session. The Senate is slated to vote on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

“We do have a deal, and I believe we will pass it this afternoon at 4 p.m.,” Schumer said. “They are still dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, but every major issue was resolved.”

After the PPP exhausted its funds, growing pressure mounted on Congress and the federal government to come to an agreement on a new round of funding amid the pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference, on Capitol Hill, in Washington on Feb. 11, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

McCarthy, appearing later in an interview, told Fox News: “There is a deal that is done.”

“I think it will happen at 4 o’clock today,” Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on C-SPAN. “I think it will go a long way for small businesses.”

A vote in the House could happen as soon as Thursday, according to reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leadership team have sent members of Congress notices about an 11 a.m. caucus call over the measure, Bloomberg News reported.

The House most likely will not be able to pass the legislation unanimously, and representatives were asked to come back to the Capitol in Washington this week, according to Hoyer.

“We are asking every member to return who can return,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Calif.), the House Majority Leader, told reporters on Tuesday. “There are some members who are particularly vulnerable to either themselves because of some preexisting condition or they are caring for relatives … so we’re not ordering members to come back.”

Pelosi told CNN on Monday that the GOP and Democrats have an agreement while negotiations were “down to the fine print” of the bill.

On Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump wrote that discussions will begin on a new stimulus package after he signs the interim legislation.

“I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding for PPP, Hospitals, and Testing. After I sign this Bill, we will begin discussions on the next Legislative Initiative with fiscal relief,” he wrote.

Companies and nonprofits that have fewer than 500 workers can apply for PPP loans up to $10 million to cover two months of payroll along with other expenses. Under the deal, a borrower that retains workers and doesn’t cut wages will have most or all of their loan forgiven by the government.

The Treasury Department said last week that 1.6 million PPP loans were approved.

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