WASHINGTON — Negotiations continue to try and come to an agreement on a coronavirus relief bill between House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and the White House.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on a number of issues, but they are “finally moving in the right direction” with additional coronavirus relief.
Some of the hang-ups involve a possible extension of increased unemployment benefits for people out of work because of the pandemic, which Democrats are demanding. Republicans want liability protections for businesses, healthcare providers, and schools.
What Colorado Democrat Sen. Michael Bennett and Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young want are better loans for small businesses.
“They’re going to need additional assistance,” Young said on CNBC. “So what Michael (Bennett) and I are proposing in a bipartisan fashion, and with the support of scores of allies in the U.S. Senate, is a long-term working capital loan for small businesses.”
The long-term loans are included in Young and Bennett’s RESTART Act, which he is still pushing for his fellow senators to consider, either as a stand-alone bill or to be included in a possible new coronavirus relief package.
Many Republicans are wary of spending more money than they have to in another relief bill, hence their skepticism to extending $600-a-month unemployment benefits for jobless Americans. Those enhanced benefits expired last week.
Though Young supports that effort, he also said it’s irresponsible to not spend money on small businesses.
“The most fiscally irresponsible, the most expensive thing we could do is to fail to help out these businesses,” he added. “To make them insolvent and permanently go out of business and for employees to go on public assistance.”
President Trump has said he is considering executive action as a temporary fix to solving the debate over unemployment issues surrounding the pandemic.