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Congress, White House Reach Deal on Small-Business Relief

(Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Congress and the Trump administration have finalized a new relief package for small businesses affected by the coronavirus.

The legislation will allocate $484 billion in total to helping small businesses and hospitals and expanding coronavirus testing. $321 billion will be allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to give emergency loans to small businesses but had run out of funding last week. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan fund, a separate relief program, will receive $60 billion, while the bill provides $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing throughout the country.

“I welcome this bipartisan agreement and hope the Senate will quickly pass it once members have reviewed the final text,” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said of the bill. “Congressional Democrats are proud to have secured an agreement on an interim emergency funding package.” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a joint statement.

Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) criticized the process by which the agreement was reached, with Congress in recess and many members not present to debate the legislation.

“We need to do the job we were elected to do. . . . And yet Congress is in recess,” Lee said on the Senate floor. “This . . . is simply unacceptable. If COVID-19 requires Congress to act then it requires Congress to convene.” Lee added that he would not object to passing the current legislation by unanimous consent.

President Trump on Tuesday signaled his support for the deal on Twitter, urging both houses of Congress to pass it.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.