Top U.S. Senate Republican decries lack of progress on small business aid

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media after a meeting to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Republican in the U.S. Senate on Thursday decried the lack of an agreement on a $250 billion emergency funding bill to help small businesses cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

Republicans and Democrats have been wrangling over the legislation since last week, when Democrats blocked a Republican measure to speed the assistance to businesses. Democrats, who back the spending, are holding out for a broader package that would also help hospitals, states and local communities, and the poor.

“Here’s where we are. A week later, with absolutely no progress. This morning, the program ran out of money and shut down just as I warned a week ago,” McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said on the floor of the chamber.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chris Reese

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