McCarthy says he supports incorporating hospital funding into small business aid package

The White House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Friday he would support adding funding for hospitals to a package intended to help small businesses in a new sign the partisan debate over the next phase of coronavirus legislation may be easing.

McCarthy said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he would support adding money strictly for hospitals on top of an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a small-business loan program that ran out of funds Thursday.

“Hospitals need the help. Hospitals are the modern-day soldiers,” McCarthy said. “I’d like to see money in there — money in the PPP and money in hospitals — that would be a very smart move right now.”

The comments mark the latest development in the battle over how to tackle the next round of relief legislation.

Republicans have for weeks sought to pass a “clean” bill that strictly injects another $250 billion into the PPP, while Democrats want to tack on another $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments.

President Trump appeared to give Republicans some cover Friday to budge on funding for hospitals in the next package. 

“Hospitals have been decimated by this,” Trump said at a press conference. “I’m with that all the way. If they want to add hospitals, we could also add it into phase four, if we do a phase four.” 

McCarthy told the Journal he discussed the concept of pairing the hospital funding with the small business aid with Trump at the White House on Thursday.

Democrats, who have largely been negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have indicated thus far that they are set on including both the hospital and state and local funding in the next coronavirus relief package. However, it was not immediately clear if they would consider McCarthy’s proposal to include just hospital funding. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated Friday night that Democrats may not be satisfied just with extra funds for hospitals, noting that other first responders also need more money.

“Now in the implementation, there is need for more money. We subscribe to that, we want to have more money for small business, we believe in that,” she said on MSNBC. “But it is also important to have funds for those on the front lines, the health care workers, the police and fire, EMS folks and all those who really need help as they try to save lives.

“So we’re hoping that we can come to an agreement,” she added.

Updated: 9:55 p.m.

Tags CARES Act Coronavirus coronavirus stimulus Donald Trump Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi small businesses Steven Mnuchin
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