Senate approves additional aid to small businesses and hospitals
Many companies did not manage to receive financing allocated for these purposes earlier, before the funds ran out
WASHINGTON – US Senate approves an additional $ 484 billion bill to help small businesses and hospitals as part of Congress efforts to tackle the historic economic and health crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump, via Twitter, backed a bill to replenish funds for some elements of the largest $ 2 trillion crisis relief package in American history, passed in March..
“I urge the Senate and House of Representatives to pass the Law to Strengthen the Payroll and Health Care Protection Program with additional funding for [this program], hospitals and testing. After I sign this bill, we will begin to discuss the next legislative initiative with fiscal incentives, “Trump wrote ahead of Tuesday’s vote..
House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that Congressmen had been asked to return to Washington by 10am Thursday to pass the bill. After that, Trump will be able to sign the document, giving it the force of law..
Most of the additional funding is intended for small businesses that missed out on the opportunity to receive previously allocated anti-crisis funds.
Hoyer noted that the $ 320 billion additional money for the Payroll Protection Program includes assistance targeted at women-owned and minority-owned businesses and individuals without access to banks..
Under this program, if a company uses this assistance to pay workers in the next two months, then the government takes responsibility for these costs and the company will not have to return this money..
Additional funding has been the focus of nearly two weeks of negotiations, during which Republicans tried to vote on a fast track and immediately increase funding for the program..
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for delaying voting due to seeking additional funding for other programs.
“Republicans never wanted to shut down this critical worker and small business program. We tried to approve additional funding a week before the funds ran out. But Democratic leaders blocked that money, spending several days trying to negotiate extraneous issues that were never discussed, ”McConnell said announcing the agreement..
Democrats regarded the agreement as their victory.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement emphasizing that Democrats “turned over this anti-crisis package, which was an insufficient Republican plan that overlooked hospitals, doctors and frontline workers and nothing was done to help the most vulnerable ordinary small business survive “.