Make your home page

Schumer: Trump administration OKs talks on virus aid bill to replenish ‘paycheck protection’

A man wearing a bandana as a face mask rollerblades past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on April 4, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

(AP) — Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says the Trump administration
has agreed to pursue bipartisan House-Senate talks on an interim bill to
replenish a $350 billion “paycheck protection” program for businesses
that Treasury fears is being rapidly depleted.

The New York
Democrat said he spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Friday and
hopes for a deal early next week. Schumer is pressing to add funding
for health care providers such as hospitals, as well as further funding
for cash-poor state and local governments.

The developments come a
day after Democrats stifled an attempt by Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, R-Ky., to pass a $250 billion infusion into the business
program — just in its infancy and beset with hiccups as it starts up —
by a voice vote.

Congress is in an unprecedented situation in
which convening either chamber to do business that requires roll call
votes is out of the question as the nation is locked down by the
coronavirus pandemic. That means legislation has to advance by consensus
only. Democrats say they want safeguards to ensure that funding under
the program can reach all eligible businesses, including those that do
not have established credit relationships with banks such as
minority-owned firms.