Trump administration seeks bipartisan coronavirus negotiations with Congress
Senate Democrats blocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from delivering $250 billion in new money for the Paycheck Protection Program, a $350 billion small business fund that’s expected to run dry next week. Democrats argued that $250 billion in additional money should go toward hospitals and local governments, but McConnell said the Trump administration opposed that effort and blocked the Democratic proposal.
Mnuchin has been acting for weeks as an arbitrator amid the tough partisan combat over the size and scope of congressional relief efforts. Democrats have complained that McConnell made his move on small business without consulting them, while Republicans say Democrats are being unrealistic in insisting on more money and holding up funding for the small business program that almost everyone in Congress supports.
But the urgency of the dwindling Paycheck Protection Program funds coupled with the fallout from Thursday’s clash appears to have opened the door to a new round of dealmaking, though it may take longer than the holiday weekend to work out an agreement.
A Republican familiar with the negotiations said the party is expecting Democrats to come back with a different offer than their $500 billion bill that failed Thursday.