WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are near agreement on approving extra money to help small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and could seal a deal as early as Monday, President Donald Trump said.
Trump told his daily White House briefing on the crisis that Republicans were “close” to getting a deal with Democrats, and suggested there could be a resolution on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer had said he hoped an agreement with Republicans could be reached as early as Sunday evening. Schumer cautioned, however, that both sides had a few more issues to deal with.
An agreement would end a stalemate over the Republican president’s request to add $250 billion to a small-business loan program. Congress established the program last month as part of a $2.3 trillion coronavirus economic relief plan, but it has already run out of money.
Senate Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a conference call on Sunday afternoon, said a senior Republican aide, who said Trump also joined the call.
Democratic leaders want more money for small businesses but with additional safeguards to ensure that credit is reaching businesses in underserved communities. They also sought more funds for state and local governments and hospitals, as well as food aid for the poor.
Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir, Susan Cornwell and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Additional reporting by Gabriela Borter and Barbara Goldberg in New York and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Writing by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Grant McCool, Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman