White House, Congress reach deal to replenish small-business loan program

The White House and Congress have reached a deal on a new funding package that will replenish a lending program meant to aid small businesses hurt by the novel coronavirus outbreak, two administration officials confirmed Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTreasury offers coronavirus relief loans to seven major US airlines House GOP leaders rally opposition to Democrats' scaled-down COVID bill On The Money: Biden releases 2019 tax returns hours before first debate | COVID relief talks hit do-or-die moment | Disney to layoff 28K workers MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsCOVID-19 talks hit crucial stretch Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting Sunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates MORE struck an agreement on the core components of the deal with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate Warren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' Schumer won't meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns House rebuffs GOP lawmaker's effort to remove references to Democrats in Capitol Grassley says disclosing Trump's tax records without authorization could violate law MORE (D-Calif.) early Tuesday morning.

Schumer announced the deal during an interview on CNN shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday and White House officials confirmed after 1 p.m.

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The deal totals more than $480 billion and appropriates $320 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion of which is set aside for small lenders and community financial institutions. It also includes $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program; $25 billion for testing; and $75 billion for hospitals, according to details released later.
 
President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE urged the House and Senate to pass the legislation in a pair of tweets Tuesday afternoon and laid out his vision for what would be included in the next round of coronavirus legislation.

“After I sign this Bill, we will begin discussions on the next Legislative Initiative with fiscal relief … to State/Local Governments for lost revenues from COVID 19, much needed Infrastructure Investments for Bridges, Tunnels, Broadband, Tax Incentives for Restaurants, Entertainment, Sports, and Payroll Tax Cuts to increase Economic Growth,” the president wrote.

The Trump administration and congressional negotiators have been locked in negotiations over a deal to replenish the $350 billion for the PPP, which was authorized in the third coronavirus relief package signed by Trump at the end of March and ran out of funds to lend to small businesses last week.

The program allows small businesses to keep workers on the payroll and in some cases has aided shops from going under completely amid the downturn. Social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders in some states meant to slow the spread of the virus have hit small-business owners particularly hard.

The Senate and House will need to pass the legislation. Doing so this week will require the Senate to pass the bill by unanimous consent.

McConnell applauded the deal Tuesday afternoon and proclaimed the deal a GOP victory.

“I am encouraged that Democratic leaders have finally agreed to reopen the Paycheck Protection Program and abandon a number of their unrelated demands,” he said in a statement.

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He noted the $320 billion in new PPP money is $70 billion more than Republicans initially requested two weeks ago.

He also praised Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP online donor platform offering supporters 'Notorious A.C.B.' shirts Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, for pushing to add $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, of which $10 billion will go to grants.

He singled out Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill GOP senators say coronavirus deal dead until after election MORE (R-Kan.) and Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power MORE (R-Mont.) for adding language clarifying that farmers and ranchers will be eligible for the small-business assistance.  

“I welcome this bipartisan agreement and hope the Senate will quickly pass it once members have reviewed the final text,” McConnell added.

Along with Schumer, Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoCongress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out Second GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure MORE (W.Va.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns Grassley says disclosing Trump's tax records without authorization could violate law Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting MORE (Iowa), who are both members of GOP leadership, expect the deal to pass the Senate at 4 p.m.

The House is expected to vote on the legislation Thursday if the Senate passes it Tuesday.

The package does not include the tens of billions of dollars that Democratic leaders demanded in new money for a state stabilization fund included in last month’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

Schumer vowed to include more money for states in the next coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, which may rival the CARES Act in size.  

“Democrats are disappointed that the administration has not agreed to more funding for state, tribal and local governments on the front lines of this crisis who desperately need an infusion of funds to pay the essential workers who keep us safe,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

“However, we are pleased that the president has committed to addressing this critical priority in CARES 2 and will work with urgency to see that this commitment is fulfilled,” they said.

The small-business lending program has come under scrutiny this week after it was revealed that large corporations including chain restaurants and hotels were able to tap into the funds. The CEO of burger chain Shake Shack said Monday the company was returning $10 million in loans that it received through the program because the company is “fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not."

The launch of the program was marred by confusion as thousands of businesses flooded the system to apply for loans. Banks and industry officials also expressed frustration over the lack of clarity in the program’s lending set up.

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Administration officials have focused on the positive influence of the program, with Trump touting on Monday that it had affected 30 million American jobs thus far.

Jordain Carney contributed. 

Updated 4:17 p.m.