Mnuchin 'Hopeful' On Imminent Deal For New Coronavirus Relief Funding
The White House and congressional leaders could be nearing an agreement on a new wave of coronavirus relief funding.
Negotiations have been ongoing to replenish popular programs created as part of a $2 trillion response package passed last month.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNN that he's hopeful that a deal could be reached as early as Sunday to replenish a tapped-out small-business loan program and that the deal would include additional funding for hospitals and testing.
The Senate could approve the measure as early as Monday and the House on Tuesday.
"I think we're making a lot of progress," Mnuchin said on Sunday, noting that he has had multiple conversations with Senate and House leadership in recent days. He later added, "I'm hopeful we could get a deal done today."
Mnuchin said the agreement so far would include $300 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which funds small-business loans during the crisis; that amount is $50 billion more than had initially been proposed by the administration. There's also a top-line agreement to add another $75 billion in emergency funding for hospitals, $50 billion for small-business disaster loans and $25 billion for testing, Mnuchin said.
Also speaking on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that so far, Democrats are on board but that many details remain to be hammered out to reach a plan that could be approved by both chambers.
Mnuchin didn't mention, during his interview, new aid to states and localities, something that had been a Democratic request. And while Schumer highlighted their areas of agreement so far, he said that state and local funding is needed and that there's still work to do to reach a final agreement.
“I’m very hopeful we could come to an agreement tonight or early tomorrow morning,” Sen. Chuck Schumer says about talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to funnel more money into the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/3SjJscjA6x— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 19, 2020
"We still have a few more issues to deal with," Schumer said on CNN.
Meanwhile, Rep. Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, tweeted on Sunday that the White House's "refusal to support states and localities must be overcome."
"I'm very hopeful we could come to an agreement tonight or tomorrow morning," Schumer told CNN on Sunday.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.