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Democrats try to force McConnell’s hand

Democrats try to force McConnell’s hand

by ALEXANDER BOLTON - The Hill  |  Published on April 15, 2020

Congressional Democratic leaders are trying to box out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by negotiating a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Trump to provide $251 billion in new funding for small businesses.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calculate that Trump will be eager for a deal when funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a popular small-business lending program, is projected to expire Thursday, when another wave of unemployment claims become public.

They have largely worked with Mnuchin instead of McConnell, betting that if Trump signs on to a $500 billion deal to extend small-business lending, send funds to hospitals and rescue cash-strapped states, McConnell and other GOP lawmakers will fall in line.

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While congressional Republican staff have reached out to Democrats, Schumer and Pelosi have preferred to work with Mnuchin, viewing him as a more sympathetic negotiator.

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