Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked Republicans' attempt to bolster funding for small business loans after the GOP refused to give in to several Democratic demands including more COVID-19 grant funding for providers.
Senate Republicans sought an extra $250 billion for the small business loan program established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Democrats had asked to earmark part of the funds for community-based financial institutions, double the amount of provider grant money in the with an extra $100 billion and send $150 billion to state and local governments.
Republicans argued that the bill's scope should be limited because the small business loans have already begun to be distributed and they fear the funds will run out, but Democrats argued the distribution mechanism could leave out some vulnerable small businesses.
The Senate can hold a procedural vote on Monday, and it is unclear whether negotiations will be ongoing or productive over the weekend.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Tuesday that the Trump administration would begin distributing $30 billion in provider grants from the CARES Act's $100 billion emergency fund "this week" based on providers' share of Medicare payments nationally, though the agency as of Thursday afternoon had not distributed any substantive details to providers.