Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, along with Democratic leaders, said they are close to closing a deal that would lend more money to small businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we’re very close to a deal today. I’m hopeful that we can get that done,” Mnuchin told CNN in a Sunday (April 19) report. “I’m hopeful we can reach an agreement the Senate can pass tomorrow and the House can pass Tuesday. We’re making a lot of progress.”
The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress in March. For small businesses affected by the pandemic, that funding ran out last week.
Mnuchin said he is confident a bill could pass the Senate on Monday and the House on Tuesday, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that they could strike a deal on Sunday evening or Monday morning.
Mnuchin said that the proposed new bill will include money for testing, hospitals and small businesses, but not for state and local governments, a contingent the Democrats asked to be included. He said that the new deal being defined would allocate $310 billion for the PPP, setting aside $60 billion for rural and minority groups, $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to invest in testing.
Mnuchin said that another $310 billion “should be sufficient to reach almost everybody.”
President Trump said the funding for state and local governments is something he supports and will address in future legislation.
The numbers haven’t been finalized, but Democratic and Republican leaders have stated that they want the agreement reached and the program up and running within the week.
Trillions of dollars for governments, for businesses, and for individuals – and it may all be a case of too little, too late.