McConnell torches Senate Dems for blocking urgent job protection program ‘which they themselves literally coauthored’

(Image: Fox News screenshot)

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.

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.

“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.

“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.”

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.

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Frieda Powers

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