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Senate reaches agreement on $484 billion relief package for small businesses, hospitals and testing

Senate Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement Tuesday on a $484 billion coronavirus relief package for small businesses, hospitals and testing.

The Senate could vote on the legislation as early as 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and will need unanimous support to pass it. The House could approve the bill as early as Thursday.

The deal would allocate an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses. $60 billion of that would be earmarked for smaller institutions, according to a summary of the bill released by his office. Half of the $60 billion would go to lenders with assets of less than $10 billion, and the other half to those with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion.

About $60 billion more would go to the Economic Disaster Loan program, of which $10 billion would be in the form of grants. The program, which is separate from the PPP, quickly exhausted the $10 billion originally allocated under the first business plan for small businesses.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, speaks to reporters after quitting the Senate following a failed attempt to add another $250 billion to the coronavirus relief funds of the small businesses, at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC on April 9, 2020.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The bill gives $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion to coronavirus testing. Of the testing funding, $11 billion would go to states, people familiar with the deal said. The remaining funds would go to agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Up to $1 billion can be used to cover testing costs for the uninsured.

The bill clarifies that agricultural businesses are eligible for the EIDL scheme, after previous concerns they were not.

Here is what the invoice would include:

  • $310 billion in total for P3s, including $250 billion unrestricted and $60 billion earmarked for smaller institutions
  • $50 billion for EIDL loans and $10 billion for EIDL grants
  • $75 billion for hospitals
  • $25 billion for testing, of which $11 billion will be distributed to states
  • $2.1 billion for Small Business Administration administrative expenses

“I welcome this bipartisan agreement and hope the Senate passes it quickly once members review the final text,” McConnell said in a statement, criticizing Democrats for resisting passing funding. supplement for small businesses earlier this month “in a partisan search for ‘leverage’ that never materialized.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday morning he believed the Senate would pass an additional small business relief bill later in the day.

Schumer, DN.Y., told CNN he spoke “well past midnight” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and “had reached agreement on virtually all issues”.

The government has come under pressure to replenish a fund allocated to small businesses as part of the $2.2 trillion relief bill that President Donald Trump signed into law late last month. The program offers forgivable loans to businesses that agree to maintain payroll. Its funds, which totaled $349 billion, ran out last week, putting pressure on companies that were holding back employees in hopes of getting the loan.

“The staff were up all night, writing. There are still a few things to do and get through, but we have a deal. And I think we’ll get through it today,” Schumer said.

Democrats had fought to carve out pots of money dedicated exclusively to small businesses after big companies with close banking relationships quickly clawed back the original pot of money.

“We pushed for some of the money to be separated from competing with the big companies, you know the ones that have two, three, 400 people and a relationship with the banks,” Schumer said Tuesday.

Democrats had also called for more aid to state and local governments to deal with the crisis, as funds quickly dried up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Republican members on Sunday that the package would not include pushing Democrats for state and local government funding.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he wants to see additional funds for states and municipalities in a separate bill after Congress passes the small business aid.

Tweet from Trump

– CNBC’s Kayla Tausche and Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

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