- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2020

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell teed up a Senate vote on the emergency interim stimulus package for Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, accused Democrats of dragging out negotiations with the administration, delaying the influx of funds another day.

“It’s now been four days since the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money. Republicans have been trying to secure more funding for this critical program for a week and a half,” he said on the Senate floor Monday.

“However, since this is so urgent, I have asked that the Senate meet again tomorrow in a new session that was not previously scheduled, and the Democratic leader has agreed to my request. It is past time to get this done for the country,” he added.

House Democrats sent out a notice to members late Sunday night that they should expect votes as soon as Wednesday on the package.

Initially, Republicans wanted a straight forward extension of $251 billion to refund the small business paycheck protection program (PPP), but Democrats held out to extend funds to other key areas such as hospitals and state and local governments.

Generally, lawmakers agreed that all those items needed more funding, but they squared off on the order of how Congress should tackle it: all together or in more narrow bills.

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said the deal lawmakers were eyeing was now closer to $300 billion for the PPP, as well as $50 billion for disaster loans, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to expand testing for the coronavirus.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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