Congress and the White House Are Close to Finalizing New Aid Package

April 20, 2020
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The Executive Branch and Congress are close to inking a deal for more than $400 billion of emergency aid funding for small businesses. Voting to allow funding could be held as early as this week, according to Washington insiders.

Productive Discussions Surrounding Small Business Aid

Republican Senators and President Trump reportedly had a productive conference call on Sunday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling his colleagues that the only part of the package yet to be agreed is related to rules surrounding Coronavirus testing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is involved in the discussions, also noted that money for state and local governments, and food stamp aid, would not be included in the deal. These items were requested by Democrats in the House and Senate.

The new aid package will significantly benefit small businesses, which represent the most vulnerable companies during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As discussions take place, President Trump is pushing to reopen areas of the U.S. economy where virus activity is limited. Currently, there has been little movement on this front, as governors have the final say on when to remove lockdown orders. There is also conflict surrounding how testing should be performed and funded. Governors will need mass testing to make any decisions related to removing or relaxing restrictions.

The aid package may exceed the $400 billion figure by the time the details are finalized. Mnuchin said in a CNN interview on Sunday that there would be up to $300 billion allocated for a Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, $50 billion for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for Coronavirus testing.

Deal Could Be Finalized Later Today

Mnuchin has emerged as a key negotiator in recent weeks. He has held meetings with leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Mnuchin reportedly spoke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over the weekend and said that the deal could pass on Monday afternoon when lawmakers meet in an afternoon pro forma session. A vote would then quickly follow.

European stocks were up on Monday, with news that areas of Germany would remove some lockdown restrictions. U.S. stocks could follow this trend if there is positive news surrounding the small business aid package.

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