Schumer predicts Senate passage of relief bill Tuesday

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday said he believed Democrats, Republicans and the White House had a deal to provide $350 billion to a coronavirus relief small-business lending program and that the Senate could vote on the deal later in the day.

The package would also provide $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to expand testing.

“I think we will be able to pass this today,” Schumer said in an interview Tuesday morning on CNN.


“There are still a few more i’s to dot and t’s to cross, but we have a deal,” he added.

Schumer said he, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential' MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House chief of staff knocks FBI director over testimony on election fraud Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid Pelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' MORE held a phone call after midnight to settle the issue.

“We came to an agreement on just about every issue,” Schumer told CNN.

For the legislation to become law this week, it will need to pass by unanimous consent in the Senate, where a single Republican or Democratic senator can hold it up by raising a procedural objection.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday told reporters that he didn't know whether an agreement would be able to secure unanimous consent until he vetted it with his GOP conference. 

A GOP aide indicated that the deal would not be final until it had been reviewed and approved by all Senate Republicans.


"No deal yet," said the aide. 

But Schumer on Tuesday sounded confident it would pass. 

“They're still dotting the i's and crossing the t's, but every major issue was resolved by the four of us last night, and I know that Mnuchin and Meadows were in good touch with Leader McConnell and the president," he said. "I believe we will pass it this afternoon at 4 p.m."

Lawmakers have been under pressure to get a deal after the Small Business Administration (SBA) ran out of money last week for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was set up to provide loans to businesses that would allow them to maintain payroll during the coronavirus shutdown.

The new deal would send $50 billion in small-business money to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides loans directly to small businesses instead of working through banks and credit unions like the rest of the PPP money.

It will also set $125 billion for the so-called underbanked businesses such as small restaurants and nail salons that don’t have strong pre-existing relationships with banks.

The PPP had come under criticism after it emerged that larger businesses, such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, had won funding for the program. Shake Shack announced it was returning the funds it had received.

The bill does not include new money for state and local governments, a demand from Democrats that McConnell and other Republicans vigorously opposed. 

Republicans were also able to block a 15 percent increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that Democratic leaders had demanded. 

Democrats, however, got a win by securing billions of dollars for states to implement testing programs before reopening their economies. 

“This is one of the last things we had to hold out for. We do believe the states need money,” Schumer said of a nationwide testing program. “You need a national strategy and the president, Mnuchin and Meadows agreed to that to their credit and it will be in the proposal.”

He said Democrats would ask again for more money for states in the next coronavirus relief package, which the administration and congressional leaders expect to negotiate later in the spring.  


Schumer said he also secured what he called an important concession from the White House to let states use stabilization funds included in the CARES Act for lost revenue.

He also said Democrats got “good vibes” from Mnuchin about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s share of disaster relief assistance in hard-hit areas.

Mnuchin on Sunday hailed the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program as crucial to helping small-business owners keep workers on payroll. 

“These two programs are unprecedented response to small businesses, which I think you know is about 50 percent of the American work force,” Mnuchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

The House is expected to pass the legislation by a recorded vote on Thursday because libertarian Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieRon Paul hospitalized in Texas GOP lawmaker praises Kyle Rittenhouse's 'restraint' for not emptying magazine during shooting Rep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Ky.) and other Republicans insisted on having a formal roll call vote. 

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential' MORE (D-Md.) told colleagues Monday that the House will hold a vote on Thursday to change the chamber rules to allow remote voting on coronavirus-relief legislation. That will require a quorum or a majority of the House to return to Washington on Thursday. 


Once a quorum is present on the Hill to change the voting rules, it can approve the interim coronavirus-relief package with a traditional roll call vote or by remote voting by proxy. 

Some Republican expected the deal to pass during a pro forma session on Thursday, the day the SBA announced its lending program had run out of money.

Instead, Mnuchin and congressional leaders spent several more days haggling, which gave vulnerable Republicans such as Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBreaking the Chinese space addiction Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error Billionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden MORE (Colo.) a chance to go on offense by blasting Democrats for holding up small-business funding to also fund hospitals and state and local governments.

“We ran out of money in a fund that was approved unanimously two, three weeks ago and now they’re holding it up? You look at how many millions and millions of jobs have been saved by the Paycheck Protection Program and they would rather play politics,” Gardner said of Democratic leaders Monday morning during an interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”