As Donald Trump seeks to reach a bipartisan agreement with Democrats to create more aid to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which has already run out of money, MSNBC‘s Steve Benen claims that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be the major roadblock.
Benen pointed to reporting from The Hill that suggested Trump expressed his openness to attaching Democrat-requested items to a new aid bill, which runs contrary to reports that Republicans are not open to such a move and want legislation exclusively focused on the PPP.
“If accurate, this would put the president at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Benen wrote.
“In theory, Trump’s position should bring the relevant players closer to an agreement, but it’s difficult to know whether the president will change his mind from one day to the next. At least for now, however, Trump appears to have stepped on his own party’s position.”
According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a resolution on the bill will likely not be reached until at least the weekend. Regardless, Benen notes that the presence of any negotiations is a departure from McConnell’s and other Republican leaders’ desires on Capitol Hill.
Trump and his allies in the Senate moved to add $250 billion to the PPP fund last week, The Washington Times reported. In response, the president slammed Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and their allies in a tweet in which he lambasted their “endless vacation” from Capitol Hill amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s been so good that it’s almost depleted, and we want to replenish it, and we can’t get the Democrats to approve it,” Trump said of the PPP earlier on Wednesday.
The SBA could run out of money for the Payment Protection Program as soon as today.— America First (@AmericaFirstPAC) April 15, 2020
Nancy Pelosi's response?
“I congratulate the Senate Democrats” for objecting to $250 billion in small business relief.pic.twitter.com/7Eyd01MoNn
Democrats are reportedly requesting “hundreds of billions” for other forms of emergency coronavirus relief, including funding for states, hospitals, and families relying on food stamps.
Despite early clashes, Trump claimed late Thursday night that the White House was in talks with Democrats with regards to the bill and said said “something’s going to be happening,” per MSNBC.
As reported by National Review, McConnell and Trump also clashed recently on the issue of adjourning Congress. While the president threatened to do so using the powers in Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, the senate majority leader pushed back against the notion. Although McConnell said he shared Trump’s “frustration with the process,” he pointed to the Senate rules and suggested he did not agree with the White House’s proposal.
Conversely, the president claims that confirmation of his appointees is an essential matter as coronavirus ravages the nation.