Senate Democrats are proposing a new coronavirus aid package, with at least $750 billion to boost hospital capacity, unemployment insurance and other direct aid for American households, businesses and the health care industry.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is floating the proposal as Congress and the White House are quickly developing a third aid package to fight the novel virus that has brought the nation to a standstill.
Republicans are talking privately among themselves about their new priorities in what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a comprehensive approach to help families and small businesses.
It comes as senators are returning to Washington on Monday to consider swift approval of an earlier aid package from the House, which provides sick pay, free testing and emergency food aid for families. That's on top of the initial $8.5 billion in aid that was approved two weeks ago.
The days ahead will test if Congress can quickly respond to the crisis.
The nation's largest business organization asked the Trump administration and Congress on Monday to act rapidly to help companies have access to cash and avert a potentially devastating hit to the economy as the coronavirus pandemic forced closures and quarantines that threatened to choke off commerce worldwide.
In a letter to President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for legislation including a three-month cancellation of the taxes companies pay to support Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance.
They also recommended an easing of restrictions on loans for businesses that employ less than 500 workers and an expanded system of loans and loan guarantees for larger companies.
The chamber said in a statement accompanying the letter that acting quickly could mitigate the potentially devastating economic effects of the virus' spread. The chamber's proposals come with talks already underway on a new bill aimed blunting the damage the virus is doing to the economy.