Senate Democrats and White House reps are close to final agreement on another massive coronavirus bill that would replenish small business loans and fund medical responses to the pandemic.
A source tells The Post the legislation is expected to total $470 billion, with funds going primarily to the Small Business Administration but also to hospitals and a new virus testing initiative.
It’s the fourth massive federal package to address the crisis following a more than $2 trillion stimulus bill passed last month.
The new legislation could pass the Senate as early as Tuesday afternoon, with a House vote as early as Thursday. The core of the bill is a $250 billion expansion of the small-business Paycheck Protection Program that ran out of money last week.
Democrats halted an expansion of the loan program last week, and won $220 billion in additional funds, a Democratic source tells The Post, including $75 billion for health care facilities and $25 billion for a national testing effort.
The deal is said to include a $60 billion set-aside for small banks, credit unions and other community lenders to expand the PPP to more businesses, including those without bank accounts.
Another $50 billion goes to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $10 billion to the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Grant program, sources said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) brokered the agreement with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was involved in the process, two sources told The Post, to make sure Republicans drove a hard bargain.
An initial $350 billion for the PPP was approved last month in the more than $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. The small-business program allows companies with up to 500 employees, and in some cases more, to have loans forgiven if they don’t lay off workers.
The $2 trillion stimulus bill also included a $500 billion loan program for businesses run by the Treasury Department, a $600 per week boost in unemployment, and $1,200 direct payments to Americans earning up to $75,000.
But sources in Republican Senate leadership cautioned that the deal was not yet final.
“No deal yet. Stay tuned,” said one source. Another said negotiators were “basically there” and “pretty close.”
The White House declined comment.
House passage of the new bill may be complicated by back-bench opposition in both parties. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he may force lawmakers to return for an in-person vote and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said Monday she may oppose the deal.