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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told the Wall Street Journal Friday that he supports adding funding for hospitals alongside an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), designed to help small businesses survive the coronavirus shutdown.

The state of play: McCarthy's signal could break a stalemate between Republicans and Democrats on refilling the PPP, which ran out of money on Thursday — just two weeks after it launched.

  • Democrats have argued that additional funding for hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments must be tacked on — citing mayors and governors who have pleaded for more federal aid — while Republicans have sought to fund only the PPP.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin already said he was willing to work with Democrats on what they wanted to include in the bill.

What he's saying: "Hospitals need the help. Hospitals are the modern-day soldiers," McCarthy told the Journal.

  • "I’d like to see money in there — money in the PPP and money in hospitals — that would be a very smart move right now."
  • He added that he discussed pairing the hospital and PPP funding with President Trump, who he believed was open to the idea.
  • McCarthy also suggested additional funding for the separate Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses — another move Democrats have wanted to include.

Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.