Democrats Seek Limits on Firms Getting Loans: Congress Update

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U.S. senators meet Sunday in a bid to finalize a bipartisan bill worth more than $1 trillion to help soften the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they want to add more worker-focused provisions to the draft legislation released late last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been representing the Trump administration in the talks.

Here are the latest developments:

Democrats Seek Limits on Firms Getting Loans

Democrats on Sunday continued to push for more specific conditions for companies receiving loans as part of the stimulus package.

One GOP draft of the bill says companies receiving loans must keep employees on staff “to the extent possible,” but Democrats want to change this provision to offer loan forgiveness only if at least 90% of the workforce is retained, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Democrats took issue with the discretion that the Treasury secretary has for the money going to corporations, including which companies receive funds, the person said. Mnuchin would also have the option to waive restrictions on stock buybacks under the Republican proposal, the person said.

Democrats also want a more than two year restriction on increasing executive pay for companies that receive federal loans, the person said.

Mnuchin Sees Package on Track for Monday Passage

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration is nearing agreement with Congressional leaders from both parties on a massive aid program aimed at supporting the U.S. economy through the next 10 to 12 weeks.

“I hope this gets passed on Monday, because we need the money now,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mnuchin said lawmakers were likely to wrap up talks on the package on Sunday, and vote Monday morning.

Senate Reconvenes For Stimulus Negotiations

The top Republican and Democratic leaders will meet Sunday at 11 a.m. in Washington to discuss the latest version of the massive stimulus package that members of both parties agree is necessary to shore up the economy.

The main provisions include direct payments to American households, more generous unemployment insurance, loans to help small businesses meet payroll and loans, and loan guarantees for the hardest hit industries, including airlilnes and hospitals.

The Senate will hold a procedural vote in the afternoon that will set up a final vote on the bill as soon as Monday. The House would still need to pass the measure before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Catch Up on Washington’s Virus Response

  • Trump, Congressional Leaders Say Deal on Virus Stimulus Close
  • Mnuchin Sees Emergency Aid Package on Track for Monday Passage
  • House Democrats Want Trump Team’s Answers on Supply Shortages
  • Trump Pushes an Unproven Coronavirus Drug, and Patients Stock Up
  • Fed Going All In to Save Economy. Here’s What Could Come Next

— With assistance by Christopher Condon

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