Schumer: Small business loans were delayed to help minority communities

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fired back against criticism that Democrats were holding up the next round of funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, touting that provisions they got added to the bill will provide aid to rural areas and minority communities.

“Well I would say that the very things that we Democrats have been fighting for, are now going into the bill. If you had a connection with a bank, it was pretty easy to get a loan. If you didn’t, from one end of the country to another, we have been hearing that people can’t get the loans. The local restaurant, the local barbershop, the local drug store — or even start up businesses, manufacturing or…services that aren’t happening,” Schumer (D-NY) told CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview Sunday.

“So we Democrats said, ‘yes, we want to put the more money in [for small business financial relief], but let’s set aside some money to make sure it goes to the rural areas, to the minority areas, to the unbanked. And the $60 billion for the disaster loan was [Democrats’] proposal, and now the [Trump] administration is going along with it,” he continued.

The Senate Democrat went on to say he was very hopeful that he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could reach a deal by Monday morning.

Schumer, Mnuchin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and their staffs have spent the weekend in intense negotiations, Axios reports, with talks continuing late into the night on the Senate GOP-backed $250 billion package to refund the PPP.

All sides remained optimistic when speaking to media on Sunday, saying a deal was likely in the near future.

Democrats have pushed for an additional $250 billion for local and state governments and hospitals that are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.

The White House has succumbed to some of the Democrats’ wish list, specifically $75 billion for hospitals, $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $25 billion for expanded testing.

Regarding the Democrats’ hope that an extra $150 billion would be tacked on for state and local governments, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the provision was a no-go in a phone call with GOP lawmakers, according to CNN.

Speaking on CNN just before Schumer’s appearance, Mnuchin said in an interview that President Trump is “prepared to discuss [funding for state and local governments] in the next bill,” but that he “wants to get his over the finish line with a focus on small business, hospitals and testing.”

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