The Senate is set to vote on the reauthorization of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) today for small businesses.  The Republican controlled Senate is not likely to pass it as they have their own $1.8 Trillion that probably wouldn’t pass either.

In the meantime, Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to back away from a Tuesday deadline to reach a deal on a COVID-19 stimulus plan before the election.  Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg her Tuesday ultimatum was not actually a deadline to have a deal but in fact “the day where we would have our terms on the table, to be able to go to the next step.” 

The bill reauthorizes another round of the small business loans but is likely to be blocked by Democrats, who have opposed standalone relief bills. Asked how a bill could come together, Pelosi left open the possibility a bill might not be passed until after the election, saying “we could still continue the negotiations. It might not be finished by Election Day.” 

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said Monday the speaker hoped she would “have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election” by the end of Tuesday. Pushing the negotiations until after the elections means both parties would not restart negotiations until the “lame duck” session of Congress, which is the time period between the election and when a new Congress is sworn in next year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dared Democrats to oppose the PPP bill, noting it is not a topic that both sides disagree on.  “I’ll let you in on a secret.  There’s something Senators do when we want something to pass: We vote for it,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Tuesday.   

“It’s no counterargument to complain that the PPP legislation does not also contain 100 other things.  The entire point is to agree where we can and make law while we keep arguing over the rest.”   He criticized Democrats as he said they were holding up additional relief for Americans over provisions that aren’t related to COVID-19.  He said funds for the small business loan program had “been taken hostage” by Democrats.

“The Democratic leaders have spent months holding out for a long far-left wish list of non-COVID-related priorities and obstructing any additional aid until they get it,” McConnell argued.  “All-or-nothing.   That’s been their position.   Either Democrats get every unrelated policy they want or American families get nothing.   So, for months, they’ve blocked bipartisan aid at every turn.”   McConnell has not played a role in the talks, instead leaving the negotiating to Democrats and the White House.

Both sides are struggling to reach a deal just weeks before the election, with Democrats and Republicans hundreds of billions of dollars apart in their proposals and unable to resolve major policy differences on COVID-19 testing, liability protections, and school funding. 

In a poll reported by USATODAY, they asked their American audience what they wanted most in a stimulus bill and about two-thirds of respondents said they wanted a second round of $1,200 direct payments, and roughly one-quarter of respondents said they needed additional supplemental unemployment aid.

For additional information visit our friends at USATODAY.

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