Schumer believes coronavirus small business loan deal reached

Senate Democratic leader says he believes a fourth coronavirus spending bill will pass the Senate Tuesday afternoon

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WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress moved toward a fourth coronavirus relief bill expected to top $450 billion, as Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said all major provisions were agreed, and that the Trump administration has signed off on a national testing strategy.

"I believe we have a deal, and I believe that we will pass it this afternoon at 4 p.m. (2000 GMT)," Schumer told CNN.

He said the package would include more money for small businesses and hospitals as well as the testing strategy that will help states lift extensive stay-at-home orders and advisories intended to slow the spread of the potentially lethal respiratory disease.

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"We need a national strategy, as the governors have said, to get the kinds of testing that's done, to get the contact tracing, to make the tests free," Schumer said. He said President Donald Trump - who has talked about testing as largely a state responsibility - had agreed to this "and it will be in the proposal."

Republicans and Democrats have been battling for more than a week over what to include in the fourth round of financial stimulus intended to ease the heavy economic toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 42,000 Americans.

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There was no immediate announcement of a deal, however, from the Republican side. Republicans control the Senate, and aides cautioned there was no deal until that announcement was made.

A deal would end a stalemate over Trump's request to add to a small-business loan program. Congress set up the program last month as part of a $2.3 trillion coronavirus economic relief plan, but it has already run out of money.

Some of the details of the new package emerged on Monday. It is expected to include at least $300 billion for a small business payroll loan program and a separate provision of $50 billion for another small business disaster loan facility.

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Addressing concerns that previous legislation had overly benefited larger, better-connected small businesses, Schumer said $125 billion of small business funds in the package will go to "mom and pop" and minority-owned stores.

There will be $75 billion for hospitals, he said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that the plan would include $25 billion for testing.

But Schumer said Republicans resisted sending more money to state and local governments.

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If the Republican-majority Senate passes the bill on Tuesday, it could move to the Democratic-majority House as soon as Thursday, House leaders said.

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(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Lisa Lambert; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)