Both the Paycheck Protection Program and the HEROES Act were waiting for debate when the senators’ time expired on Thursday.
The Paycheck Protection Program was one of special interest to many because of the estimated 30 million currently unemployed people in the United States. The act would have extended the paycheck protection program for small businesses. Currently, the program is set to expire after eight weeks. The proposed legislation would extend that protection to 16 weeks, according to The Hill.
The act enjoyed bipartisan support and Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and the chairman of the Small Business Committee, said that his committee was still trying to ascertain whether there were any senators who objected to the legislation, saying it could be passed in a “pro forma session” that is scheduled for Friday.
“It’s going to pass. It’s just how long it takes to run the hotline and get all the offices to call back,” Rubio said. The senator was referring to a process begun by Republicans that allows them to see if there is any objection to the bill. If there is none, its journey would be considerably easier.
“It could take two hours or it could take two days, it just depends. It’s a very mysterious process.”
The top Democrat on the Small Business Committee — Senator Ben Cardin — also said that he expected the bill to pass, possibly next week.
“Hopefully within in the next couple days, we can have a bicameral understanding,” he stated.
Lawmakers in the Senate are also facing a much more contentious bill sent from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. That legislation would give an additional $3 trillion in coronavirus support to the American people.
The HEROES Act would allow for additional funding to state and local communities, as well as sending a second round of money into the pockets of taxpayers, this time adding more money for dependents.
We still do not know the full scale of the tragedy gripping our nation. That is why testing & tracing are at the core of The #HeroesAct. The Senate must pass this legislation to ensure we have the information needed to fight back against COVID-19. #FamiliesFirst #DeadlineWH pic.twitter.com/uhUd8PE7Bp
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 19, 2020
The bill received its name because of the generous portion that was earmarked by the House for hazard pay for essential workers, who have continued their jobs with an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the act would also allocate a generous sum for coronavirus testing and to implement contact tracing, something that health officials have deemed necessary to stem the outbreak and slow down a possible resurgence.