April 13 (UPI) -- The Senate postponed action on additional coronavirus relief proposals Monday to at least Thursday with the plans already stalled since last week as Democrats and Republicans argue over what needs to be included.
Monday was the first meeting since Thursday when competing proposals to provide the additional relief failed to pass. The meeting ended in less than a minute with both parties still refusing to budge, delaying action until at least Thursday when the chamber is next set to be in session.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, had sought to provide $250 billion in additional funding to the Paycheck Protection Program, a $350 billion program, which provides loans to small businesses. The program was passed last month as part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.
"I'm literally talking about deleting that number '350' and writing '600' in its place," McConnell said on the Senate floor last Thursday. "Do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more."
However, Democrats said that he was trying to push it through without negotiation. They also pushed for $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion state and local governments to provide food assistance.
McConnell blocked the Democrats proposal.
The stalemate comes amid fear that the Paycheck Protection Program will run out of money.
Wells Fargo said last week it has already reached its $10 billion limit to lend to small business customers under the PPP. Fears that the program may run out of money may be driving some applications, but President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they would ask Congress for more money if that happens.
McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had pledged over the weekend to keep fighting for the small business funding alone despite Democrats requests for additional funding.
"Republicans reject Democrats' reckless threat to continue blocking job-saving funding unless we renegotiate unrelated programs which are not in similar peril ... We will continue to seek a clean PPP funding increase. We hope our Democratic colleagues familiarize themselves with the facts and the data before the program runs dry," McConnell and McCarthy said in a joint statement.
"We have real problems facing this country, and it's time for the Republicans to quit the political posturing by proposing bills they know will not pass either chamber and get serious and work with us toward a solution," they said in a joint statement.
After the Senate failed to pass the competing proposals for additional coronavirus relief aid last week, Republicans had similarly accused Democrats of "playing politics."