Coronavirus: Pelosi says deal on small business relief 'very close'

Congress last month approved a $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package but fell short after which Trump asked for a $250 billion replenishment

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she believed US lawmakers are very close to striking a bipartisan deal to replenish extra funds to help small businesses that have been suffering due to the coronavirus outbreak. A deal would mean an end to a stalemate on President Donald Trump's request to add $250 billion to a small business program.

Congress last month had approved a $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus to bail out businesses suffering owing to the pandemic. However, the approved stimulus fell short after which Trump requested for an additional sum to help businesses.

US nears stimulus deal for small businesses

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi YouTube grab

The United States last month approved a massive $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus, the biggest in history. However, even then the government fell short of money. Following that Trump had requested an additional $250 billion to help small businesses.

According to Pelosi, the lawmakers are "very close" close to a deal on approving the extra money. "We're close. We have common ground," Pelosi said in an interview with ABC's This Week that will run in full today. "I think we're very close to an agreement." This would also put an end to a stalemate that lasted for over two weeks. A vote in the Senate failed earlier this month over a dispute on the size and scope of the legislation.

Will Trump's lashing help?

United States Capitol
United States Capitol Pixabay

Republicans have been asking for an additional $250 billion to boost the small business loan program, while democrats are pushing for around half a trillion emergency relief package, with funds going toward the small business loan program, local and state governments, hospitals and an increase in food benefits.

Pelosi's hint that the deal is likely to materialize after Trump slammed the speaker in a series of tweets over the past few days. Also, on Saturday, Trump urged the lawmakers to replenish the small business loan saying that "funding is now fully drained. It's out. It's gone."

However, Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer say that they are in favor for the replenishment of small business relief fund but at the same time are demanding more coronavirus relief funds for hospitals, food assistance for the poor as well as state and local governments. States that have been the most affected by the coronavirus outbreak have been asking for more federal funding to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Governors of some states like New York and New Jersey, two of the hardest hit, have already asked for more funding to boost testing facilities. Congress is now planning to take up another major coronavirus relief legislation to help hospitals and local and state governments once the small business fund is replenished.

This article was first published on April 19, 2020
Related topics : Coronavirus