White House seeks limited coronavirus relief bill, promises further talks on broader stimulus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Sunday called on Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill using leftover funds from an expired small-business loan program, as negotiations on a broader package ran into resistance.

The administration proposal, which Democrats dismissed as inadequate, was the latest twist in on-again, off-again talks to try to secure more stimulus, as the economy struggles to recover from coronavirus-related shutdowns that threw millions of Americans out of work.

In a letter to lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of State Mark Meadows said they would continue to talk to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to reach agreement on a comprehensive bill.

But they said Congress should “immediately vote” on legislation to enable the use of the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds, which total around $130 billion.

“The all or nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” they wrote.

A spokesman for Pelosi, the lead Democratic negotiator, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Representative Nita Lowey, the Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, rejected the administration’s offer in a statement later on Sunday as “woefully inadequate.”

“We can only reopen our economy and set the foundation for a strong recovery if we support state and local governments on the frontline of this crisis,” Lowey said in a statement.

White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern told reporters the unused funds would be used to reopen the Payroll Protection Program, which expired earlier this year, to “allow businesses to continue to use it to keep their employees employed.”

President Donald Trump on Friday offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with Pelosi after urging his team on Twitter to “go big” – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal. That came days after Trump abruptly called off negotiations until after the Nov. 3 election in which he is seeking re-election.

Trump’s reversal and higher offer drew criticism from Senate Republicans, some of whom are uneasy about the national debt and whether a deal would cost Republicans votes next month.

Federal Reserve officials have urged Congress to be aggressive. The head of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank said the recovery had “flattened out,” indicating the need for further stimulus.

“A lot of people are suffering. A lot of small businesses are suffering,” Minneapolis Fed chief Neel Kashkari said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Republicans would eventually come around.

“I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it,” he said, adding there would be “further efforts of negotiation” on a package this week.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Tim Ahmann and Peter Cooney

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Solar & Home Improvement Contractor Point-Of-Sale Lender Dividend Finance Announces New Lending Platform & Broader Loan Product Suite

 

Dividend Finance Inc., a U.S.-based fintech that specializes in point-of-sale lending to solar and home improvement contractors, announced on Wednesday the launch of a new technology platform. Founded in 2013, Dividend claims it is a leading national provider of renewable energy and energy-efficient financing solutions to property owners.

“We give our customers the opportunity to obtain clean energy financing through a comprehensive suite of financing options. Our flagship product, the EmpowerLoan™, continues to expand its product offerings into the storage and home-energy space.”

Dividend reported that in addition to a new solar + home improvement partner portal, it is now offering its solar contractors an array of new products and enhancements including:

  • Dividend Lite: a new single-page URL application
  • New solar loan terms, including a 25-year 2.99% APR, 20-year 1.49% APR, 15-year 1.49% APR, and 10-year 0.99% APR
  • Flexible credit criteria and funding requirements
  • Same-day approvals and project funding

Skyler Hopkins, Dividend’s SVP of Solar Sales, spoke about the products by adding:

“We’ve been listening to our contractor network and wanted to deliver a comprehensive overhaul in Q4 2020 with a diverse suite of loan product options, a more flexible point-of-sale experience, enhanced credit approvals, and a streamlined funding process.”

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White House pushes for limited coronavirus relief bill as broader effort meets resistance

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin takes questions from news reporters with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows following a series of meetings on efforts to pass new coronavirus aid legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday called on Congress to pass a coronavirus relief bill using leftover funds from the small business loan program as negotiations on a more comprehensive package face resistance.

Their proposal was the latest twist in the on-again, off-again talks to try to secure more stimulus for the economy.

In a letter to House and Senate members, Mnuchin and Meadows said the White House would continue to talk to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but that Congress should “immediately vote on a bill” that would enable the use of unused Paycheck Protection Program funds.

“The all or nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” they wrote.

President Donald Trump on Friday offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with Pelosi after urging his team on Twitter to “go big” – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal. That came after Trump earlier last week said he was calling off negotiations until after the Nov. 3 election.

Trump’s reversal and higher offer drew criticism from at least 20 Senate Republicans, who said they were concerned a deal would cost Republicans support in the upcoming elections.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that he thought Senate Republicans would eventually come around.

“I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it,” he said, adding that there will be “further efforts of negotiation” on a package this week.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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Trump open to broader COVID-19 stimulus as Pelosi, Mnuchin negotiate

  • The White House is open to a broader coronavirus stimulus plan, communications director Alyssa Farah said Thursday.
  • President Donald Trump pulled out of stimulus talks on Tuesday and called for standalone bills for certain sectors, such as the airline industry.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would not agree to airline relief without a wider stimulus bill.
  • Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke about a comprehensive relief package in a 40-minute phonecall on Thursday afternoon.
  • Mnuchin made it clear President Donald Trump was open to a “comprehensive” funding package, Pelosi’s spokesman said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration indicated on Thursday night that it was open to a broader coronavirus stimulus package — despite President Donald Trump pulling out of funding talks on Tuesday and calling for standalone relief bills.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a 40-minute phone call on Thursday afternoon to discuss “whether there is any prospect of an imminent agreement on a comprehensive bill,” Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill said in a tweet. Pelosi has said she would not support a standalone bill for airline aid, which Trump has called for, unless it accompanied a larger support package.

Mnuchin made it clear that Trump was interested in a “comprehensive” stimulus package — one that includes support for airlines, state and local government aid, and jobless benefits, Hammill said.

White House communications director Alyssa Farah initially cast doubt on whether Trump was open to a larger stimulus bill, telling reporters Thursday afternoon that “we’ve made very clear we want a skinny package.”

But later on, Farah said the administration was “open to going with something bigger” — albeit not at the level Democrats initially proposed.

Democrats want a $2.2 trillion package, while the Republicans have proposed a figure of $1.6 trillion, higher than what many Senate Republicans have said they would support.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday there were “vast differences about how much we should spend,” and that Pelosi was insisting “on an outrageous amount of money.”

“Hopefully there will be a way forward soon,” he added.

Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin agree on a package, it’s not clear when, or if, a deal would pass both the House and Senate. 

Trump halted negotiations over a new COVID-19 aid package on Tuesday, saying they would only resume after the election on November 3. He later changed course and suggested he would support several smaller standalone measures, including one for the airline industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic.

Airlines are in the process of furloughing 32,000 workers, with tens of thousands more taking voluntary long-term unpaid leaves of absence. More furloughs are expected in the coming months, and next year.

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