Economy

US Dems Push For Small Businesses, Hospitals First In Next Financial Aid

Schumer and Pelosi put forward new demands in the ongoing coronavirus crisis

Top Democratic officials in the U.S. have a new list of demands for the next round of stimulus funds to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including stipulations for small businesses, hospitals and health officials and low-income Americans, according to the Financial Times.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, issued a statement Wednesday (April 8) that their preference for the next step would include a $250 billion package to go toward small business aid, which they would do through smaller lenders.

They also said they would be fighting for $100 billion for hospitals to purchase more protective gear and test more people for the highly infectious disease. With the high volumes of coronavirus patients coming to some hospitals, staff has struggled to keep enough equipment for either protection or testing.

Pelosi and Schumer said they also plan to seek $150 billion to go toward local and state governments, and a 15 percent boost for food stamp applicants.

The previous stimulus plan, a $2 trillion deal called the CARES Act, was passed in late March and worked for relief for small businesses and stimulus checks for individuals — although many small businesses have not been successful at accessing the loans yet.

Pelosi and Schumer said the new phase of relief would have to work toward benefiting the people and alleviating the "assault on their lives and livelihoods" that the coronavirus has wrought over the past month.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had not commented on the requests as of Wednesday evening, although Republicans are likely to bristle at some of the asks outside of the existing Small Business Association (SBA) scheme from the first stimulus package.

McConnell said Tuesday (April 7) that Congress would need to respond to the crisis with speed and "total focus" to solve the problem in a bipartisan way, and that he would prefer all future votes come remotely to prevent the need for in-person congregating during the pandemic.

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