Mitch McConnell wants to have another round of small business bailouts on the Senate floor by Thursday in an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program.
'It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry. That cannot happen,' McConnell said in a statement Tuesday.
McConnell said he is working with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to deliver the additional $250 billion in relief for small businesses before the end of this week.
The Paycheck Protection Program aims to help small businesses ensure their employees receive paychecks and that their businesses stay open in the wake of the pandemic.
It was originally passed in an economic stimulus bill last month with $350 billion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to get an additional $250 billion approved for small business relief by bringing the measure to the Senate floor on Thursday
McConnell said he is working with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get the expansion on the Paycheck Protection Program to the floor for a voice vote before the end of the week
Here people stand in social-distanced unemployment lines in Arkansas after losing their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Unemployment claims have reached an all-time-high in the U.S. as millions filed for the benefits in the last few weeks
Coronavirus continues to surge in the U.S., and by Tuesday claims 11,000 Americans' lives
'The small-business Paycheck Protection Program needs more funding,' McConnell asserted in his statement. 'Congress needs to act with speed and total focus to provide more money for this uncontroversial bipartisan program.'
McConnell is aiming to get the measure passed with a voice vote on the Senate floor Thursday.
Texas Senator Marco Rubio, the chairman of the Small Business Committee, estimated the program needs an additional $200-$250 billion.
Democrats want to pass another massive economic stimulus bill after fears emerged that the $2.2 trillion package passed last month will not do enough to help small businesses and those out of work from the coronavirus crisis.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers Monday that the phase four package would 'easily' cost more than $1 trillion, two officials on a conference call told The Washington Post.
The next bill House Democrats propose will seek to issue another round of direct checks to Americans, extend unemployment aid to those who have lost their job or are furloughed and increase assistance for small businesses.
Donald Trump along with congressional leaders have expressed the phase three bill did not do enough to give immediate relief.
House Democrats are looking to get another massive economic stimulus bill passed, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says would 'easily' cost another $1 trillion
Conservative freshman Senator Josh Hawley is going against other Republicans by claiming he wants the government to fund companies more so they can keep employees on the payroll
The president has signaled support for some Democrat-backed ideas, like expanding help for small-business owners, issuing new bailout checks for households and including infrastructure projects, but Republican leaders have called for more corporate aid.
While Democrats are rushing toward another bill, with Pelosi hoping for a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks, most Republicans are more cautious, claiming they want to see how the phase three package works before steaming ahead with a fourth.
'The ink's barely dry on the $2 trillion that just got signed into law, the direct payments haven't hit yet,' said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) in an interview on Monday. 'When we're spending this kind of money, we've got a responsibility to see what works and what doesn't.'
Freshman Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, however, is the exception to Senate Republicans.
The GOP lawmaker is pitching a proposal for the phase four bill where the federal government would directly finance companies so they can pay their workers so millions could stay on the payroll as 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits the last week of March.
He calls this the 'survival then surge' strategy as most states have issued some sort of stay-at-home or lockdown order, causing further economic turmoil.
While the GOP usually doesn't push for more government intervention in the economy, Hawley told Politico Monday that the economic severity in the country is 'much bigger and much more severe than many other people anticipated.'
'We seem to be on a roller coaster that is currently plunging down,' Hawley continued. 'I personally do not want to ride that roller coaster and find where the bottom is. And I don't think American workers should be forced to.'
Donald Trump has signaled he agreed with several Democrat-backed proposals for the fourth bill, like expanding assistance for small businesses, funding infrastructure projects and sending more direct checks to Americans
The number of U.S. deaths from coronavirus have continued to skyrocket – reaching 11,000 on Tuesday
The U.S. also has reported more confirmed cases of the virus than any other country
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was among those pushing for a slower approach, but has since acknowledged that a fourth bill may be needed with a specific focus on health care and bolstering the hospitals and other centers.
Republicans have also signaled a much less ambitious plan than Hawley's in the fourth package – instead wanting to focus on extending benefits that were included in the last package, like relief for small businesses and unemployed individuals.
Independent Senator Angus King said the next package needs to be more of an expansion on phase three, or a 'COVID 3.1 to correct and amplify the work done in the bill.'
'I don't think the steps taken thus far are fully adequate. But it's hard to define what the next steps should be until we assess how the current program is working,' he said in an interview Monday.