Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

The U.S. Capitol Building is seen in Washington on March 25, 2020.

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Senate on Thursday failed to pass an additional $250-billion of aid intended to help small businesses cope with the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic as Democrats and Republicans blocked each other’s proposals.

Following a short session of the Senate with only a few senators, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, provided no clear path forward.

“There’ll be additional discussions” involving the top four leaders of Congress, he told reporters.

Story continues below advertisement

Democrats objected to the Republican measure for $250-billion to beef up emergency loans to small businesses, saying they would back the bill only if it had new restrictions and was coupled with a similar amount of money for hospitals, local governments and food assistance.

For example, Democrats wanted to mandate that $60-billion of the new small business money would be set aside for community-based lenders, including minority-run institutions.

Republicans objected to the Democratic initiative, saying the money in a small business loan program needed to be replenished immediately.

“To my Democratic colleagues, please – please – do not block emergency aid you do not even oppose just because you want something more,” McConnell said.

The $250-billion in small business loans, which could turn into government-paid grants if lenders meet certain terms, would be in addition to $349-billion already allocated.

Officials with President Donald Trump’s administration and lawmakers have praised that program, which they say has already approved about $100-billion in loans. But an industry group voiced concerns.

The National Restaurant Association, in a letter to congressional leaders, said a growing number of restaurant owners are concluding that the loan program “is not going to prevent them from permanently closing operations in local communities.”

Story continues below advertisement

The lobbying group called for a series of changes to the newly created program, including more flexibility in use of the loans and replenishment of a separate disaster aid arrangement.

During brief debate of the Republican bill, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen called McConnell’s move “a complete political stunt here on the floor of the United States Senate” that had no chance of becoming law.

He and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin called for immediate renewal of the emergency loan and grant program for small businesses that they said already has run out of money, along with many other initiatives.

Congress and the Trump administration hope the small business loans, coupled with aid to larger corporations, direct payments to individuals and emergency funding for hospitals will help the United States recover from the economic blow of the coronavirus outbreak. It has resulted in shuttered schools and businesses, left most of the nation’s population sheltering at home and thrown millions out of work.

More than 15,700 people have died in the United States from COVID-19, an illness associated with the coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally.

Before the Senate action, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC that officials wanted to get the small business loans program beefed up as soon as possible.

Story continues below advertisement

“We need more money for small business. The president has been very clear. He’d be happy to talk about other issues such as hospitals and states in the next bill,” Mnuchin said.

With most of Congress out on a recess, each side tried to ram its respective bill through the Senate on a fast track, meaning it took only an objection from any one of the 100 senators to shelve either plan.

Congress has already allocated more than $2.3-trillion in three waves of legislation aimed at cushioning the economic hit of the pandemic.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies