Republican and Democratic lawmakers are at a stalemate over increasing funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal incentive for small businesses to keep employees on their payrolls. Republican leaders have expressed disdain for what they call a “reckless threat” from the Democrats.

“Republicans reject Democrats’ reckless threat to continue blocking job-saving funding unless we renegotiate unrelated programs which are not in similar peril,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wrote in a statement. "This will not be Congress's last word on COVID-19, but this crucial program needs funding now. American workers cannot be used as political hostages."

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked McConnell's request to add $251 billion to the loan program. Democrats in the upper chamber want the spending bill to also include $100 billion for healthcare providers, $150 billion to state and city governments and more support for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“We’ve heard from our health care providers that they’re ready to close the doors,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said.

In addition, Democrats want to replenish the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, an initiative that gives $10,000 to small businesses facing temporary difficulties.

So far, Congress has passed three bills intended to bolster public health infrastructure and the economy amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The first was intended to help find a vaccine for the virus, along with boosting public health preparedness for the outbreak. The second provides free coronavirus testing, increased funding for food stamps and 14-day paid leave for workers affected by the pandemic. The most recent legislation, the CARES Act, provides emergency loans and support to industries impacted by the virus, along with relief for workers who have been laid off.

President Trump has declared the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency, as states shut down non-essential businesses and urge residents to stay home. As of Saturday at 2:15 p.m. ET, there are currently 506,188 coronavirus cases and 19,701 deaths in the U.S.