• The fourth coronavirus relief measure now goes to the House, which is expected to act on Thursday
  • The measure also includes $100 billion for hospitals and testing
  • Trump says the next relief bill should provide help for state and local governments

The Senate Tuesday passed the fourth coronavirus relief package, a $484 billion measure that would replenish the Small Business Administration’s paycheck protection loan program and provide more money for hard-pressed hospitals reeling under the impact of caring for COVID-19 patients.

The White House and lawmakers struck a deal early Tuesday and it was approved by unanimous consent, meaning no formal vote was taken. The measure now goes to the House, which was expected to act on Thursday.

Trump has been urging quick action since early last week when it became apparent the paycheck protection program, which is designed to encourage small businesses to keep their employees on the payroll despite stay-at-home orders that have shuttered nonessential businesses. The original $349 billion fund ran dry last Thursday, much of the money going to major hotel and restaurant chains.

President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the daily news briefing the administration would claw back the funds given to large corporations.

“I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding for PPP, hospitals and testing,” Trump tweeted ahead of the Senate action. He said the next piece of legislation he wants to see is fiscal relief for state and local governments along with infrastructure investment.

The Senate bill would provide $310 billion for the paycheck protection program, created by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act adopted late last month. The loans are to be forgiven if companies use 75% of the funds to pay employees.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to get a measure through last week that dealt only with the SBA program, but Democrats objected, saying funds also were needed by hospitals.

Tuesday’s bill adds $60 billion for the SBA disaster relief fund, and allows farms and other agriculture operations to apply. Some $75 billion would go to hospitals and $25 billion for testing.

The measure does not include funds for state and local governments or for food stamps, though Democrats had been pushing for that, as well.