Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a statement Tuesday, announced Senate Republicans will attempt to move forward on a targeted bill to restart the small business loan program that served as a centerpiece of the coronavirus relief efforts when the Senate returns to session next week.
“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families,” McConnell said in the statement. “The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”
The effort is likely to be blocked – Democratic leaders have repeatedly rejected piecemeal approaches to the next relief effort, including a roughly $300 billion Senate GOP relief bill, which Democrats voted unanimously against last month. Instead, they have insisted on a broad, comprehensive response to the twin economic and public health issues facing the country.
Those negotiations, however, have remained at a stalemate for months. While President Donald Trump offered a momentary boost to the prospects of an agreement last week when he called for a “big” deal and proposed a $1.8 trillion offer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rejected the effort and the talks are once again stuck without a clear path forward.
Pelosi, in a letter to her House Democratic colleagues Tuesday, listed off a myriad of significant issues with the latest Trump administration proposal.
“Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal’s deficiencies,” Pelosi wrote to her colleagues.
The Senate GOP move, which aides have said was under discussion for several days, follows a request to lawmakers from Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to pass a bill restarting the small business loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program. The program came to an end with roughly $130 billion in funds unspent.