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Congress Nears Deal on New Stimulus Package

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked to President Trump in early April about aid to small businesses. (Photo: Doug Mills/Bloomberg) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, with President Trump. (Photo: Doug Mills/Bloomberg)

Lawmakers are nearing the finish line on a fourth stimulus package that will provide between $450 to $600 billion in aid for businesses and hospitals affected by COVID-19, including up to $350 billion for small-business loans.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that there would be $300 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing.

One holdup in negotiations: Top Senate Democrats are pressing Mnuchin to explain how the small-business loans are being distributed before they agree to replenish the $377 billion in PPP loans, EIDLs and emergency grants that has dried up.

Ed Mills, policy analyst for Raymond James, told ThinkAdvisor in a Monday morning email message that “details are still coming together” on the package.

The SBA loans and health care numbers are still being discussed, Mills said. “The state and local funding is what is most in flux with Republicans reportedly concerned about supporting state budget shortfalls.”

President Donald Trump is willing to consider money for state and local governments “in the next bill … but right now we’re focused on small business and hospitals,” Mnuchin said, adding that he hoped a new stimulus would be signed by Trump on Wednesday.

Mills said he anticipates “a round five and beyond will be necessary to support the economy, which could include additional Medicaid payments and COBRA support” — referring to laid-off workers who want to continue receiving insurance through their former employers.

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