Democrats At Odds With Republicans Over More Coronavirus Relief

Lawmakers are negotiating another coronavirus stimulus bill that could be approved as early as this week.
Posted at 7:35 AM, Apr 09, 2020

U.S. lawmakers are working on drafting a possible fourth coronavirus stimulus package that could be approved as early as this week – if leaders can agree on what goes in it. 

"We were very proud to be able to pass bipartisan legislation - three bills in the month of March. But it was clear, even as we passed the last bill, that it would not be enough," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN. 

Leaders of both parties support the idea of providing more money to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. 

That new, forgivable loan program started last week. Nearly $350 billion was originally allocated for it through the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in late March. 

But there's been such high demand for the loans, that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin now says another $250 billion is needed for the program. And President Trump has officially asked Congress for the money. 

Republican leaders want to keep a fourth coronavirus bill narrowly focused on the additional small business loans. Democrats, meanwhile, have more expansive ideas. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are calling for  an "interim" spending bill that would also provide $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments. 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's already warned "there is no realistic chance that another sprawling bill" could win unanimous consent in the House or Senate. 

Unanimous consent may not end up being an option, though. Rep. Thomas Massie's already signaled he's willing to force lawmakers to fly back to Washington, D.C. to vote in person on the possible measure. 

Contains footage from CNN