Senate Democrats sidetracked a request from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass additional small business funding with unanimous consent.
Democrats blocked what they called a “political stunt” by the Kentucky Republican, effectively stalling a request from President Donald Trump for a $250 billion small business loan program.
.@senatemajldr Mitch McConnell says Democrats are BLOCKING a “clean” emergency aid bill for America’s small businesses.
“Please, please do not block emergency aid you do not even oppose, just because you want something more.” pic.twitter.com/3m4NIGyV2Z
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) April 9, 2020
Votes by Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen killed the bill for now despite McConnell’s urging for Democrats to put aside their attempts to include additional provisions.
“I’m afraid that this unanimous consent is basically a political stunt because it will not address the immediate need of small businesses in the legislation that we have passed,” Cardin said.
Senate Democrats just blocked urgent money for a popular, bipartisan job-saving program which they themselves literally coauthored with us two weeks ago. I complimented both sides and asked to increase the dollar amount without changing anything else. But they blocked it. https://t.co/kihn5p6rLa
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) April 9, 2020
“We need more funding and we need it fast,” McConnell told the small number of lawmakers present in the Senate Thursday as others remained home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This does not have to be nor should it be contentious,” McConnell said. “To my Democratic colleagues, please do not block emergency aid you do not even oppose just because you want something more.”
The measure would change the funding for the program to help small businesses hurting from the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis from $350 billion to $600 billion. But Democrats objected as they wanted to add hundreds of billions in additional funding, including funds for hospitals, state and local governments, and other priorities.
“Nobody thinks this will be the Senate’s last word on COVID-19. We don’t have to do everything right now,” McConnell said. “Let’s continue to work together, with speed and bipartisanship. We will get through this crisis together.”
The GOP leader had made the case to pass the targeted bill in a series of tweets Wednesday.
Ten million Americans were laid off in just the last two weeks. Tomorrow morning will likely bring another historic unemployment figure. This is urgent. If Senators delay this urgent paycheck support to insist on a broader bill, more Americans will lose their jobs unnecessarily.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) April 9, 2020
“I hope none of my colleagues object to my request for these urgently-needed funds. There is no reason why this bipartisan job-saving program should be held hostage for other priorities. Let’s re-fund the only program that’s already running dry and keep moving forward together,” McConnell wrote.
Democrat Sen. Chris Van Hollen criticized McConnell, claiming he “knew full well that there was not agreement and consensus on moving forward with this proposal. that’s why we’re here today. This was in fact designed to fail, designed as a political stunt.”
“Yes, we know we need more money for this program,” the Maryland lawmaker said. “But for goodness sakes, let’s take the opportunity to make some bipartisan fixes to allow this program to work better for the very people it’s designed to help — small businesses, nonprofits. That’s what they are asking us to do.”
Senate just adjourned without passing either COVID-19 relief funding proposals by McConnell or Senate Democrats. Senate next returns for another pro forma session Monday at 10am. Votes are currently scheduled for April 20 but that’s subject to change due to coronavirus pandemic.
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) April 9, 2020
Jesse Hunt, the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, noted that “16.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment in less than a month,” blasting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats for refusing “to stop playing partisan games with critical small business relief.”
“To once again threaten our job creators over a liberal wish list,” Hunt added, “is an outrageous dereliction of duty at a time when people’s livelihoods are at stake. Every Senate Democrat owns this failure to act.”
The latest Democrat stunt was immediately slammed on social media.
How can anyone oppose more relief for small businesses? Pelosi and Schumer’s continued obstruction is a disgrace. https://t.co/TWARcGOl9B
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) April 9, 2020
The ink barely dry on the $2.2 trillion dollar Cares Act, money largely not yet out the door (except for PPP), and Schumer and Pelosi to seek more spending for spendings sake. We need to make sure what we have already done works as intended. Then, fill the gaps. https://t.co/rtYjcTe69v
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) April 9, 2020
Schumer and Pelosi value the Kennedy center over hardworking Americans suffering right now https://t.co/XBIajEJkdY
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) April 9, 2020
Americans are running out of money and ways to feed their families and Democrats are blocking McConnell’s efforts to pay them in order for them to get partisan demands and fund windmills.
I’ll never forget this.
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 9, 2020
Democrats would rather play political games than help Americans who need it.
The #PaycheckProtectionProgram is a life raft for small businesses and workers. It needs more funding NOW so we can save jobs.
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) April 9, 2020
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