Mnuchin ‘hopeful’ deal to replenish small business loan fund could come Sunday

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is “hopeful” that Congress will strike a deal Sunday on replenishing the small business loan program that ran out of cash last week.

“I’m hopeful that we can reach an agreement that the Senate can pass this tomorrow and that the House can take it up on Tuesday and Wednesday we’d be back up and running,” Mnuchin said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Asked if that agreement could come Sunday, Mnuchin said, “I’m hopeful. I think we’re very close to a deal today and I’m hopeful that we can get that done.”

Speaking on CNN moments after the Mnuchin interview, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed optimism for a deal.

“I’m very hopeful we could come to an agreement tonight or tomorrow morning,” the New York Democrat said.

Republican members of Congress have been pushing for a $250 billion deal to refund the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program.

But Democrats want an additional $250 billion for local and state governments and hospitals that are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve also reached an agreement on SBA disaster loans so there’ll be another $50 billion appropriated, which can do over $300 billion disaster loans. So these two programs are unprecedented response to small businesses,” Mnuchin said.

He noted that the new bill would include $75 billion for hospitals and testing.

More than 20 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past month.

Aid to local governments is not part of the bill.

Mnuchin said President Trump is “prepared to discuss that in the next bill” but “wants to get his over the finish line with a focus on small business, hospitals and testing.”

Mnuchin said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are “on board.”

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