The Republican-led Senate passed a massive $484 billion aid package to help struggling small businesses on Tuesday after Senate Democrats blocked the move to help Americans last week.
The coronavirus relief package replenishes the “small business rescue program known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), provide hospitals with another $75 billion and implement a nationwide virus testing program to facilitate reopening the economy,” Fox News’ Gregg Re reported. “The new deal would provide more than $300 billion for the PPP, with $60 billion or so set aside — and divided equally — for smaller banks and community lenders that seek to focus on under-banked neighborhoods and rural areas.”
The bill makes another “$60 billion available for a small-business loans and grants program delivered through an existing small-business disaster aid program, $10 billion of which would come in the form of direct grants,” Fox News added.
The Democrats had blocked Republican’s efforts to replenish the funds in the PPP and to provide extra assistance for Americans that are struggling from the coronavirus pandemic that originated from China.
“Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have been blocking a $250 billion cash infusion into the emptied $350 billion program, resisting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) efforts to get the emergency funding measure passed by unanimous consent,” The Daily Wire reported earlier on Tuesday. “Pelosi and Schumer want major funding boosts for Democratic special interests, including schools and hospitals (which just received a funding boost in the CARES act), and guarantees that minority and female business owners will receive preferential treatment from banks dispensing the loans.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill a “significant package” during remarks on the Senate floor.
“Senate Republicans wanted more funding for Americans’ paychecks nearly two weeks ago, before the program even shut down. But in the days that our Democratic colleagues delayed these urgent funds, additional federal help for hospitals, healthcare providers, and testing became timely as well,” McConnell said. “Republicans have always supported more medical funding as soon as necessary. So I am proud this package will provide roughly $75 billion more to fund hospitals and healthcare providers in this crisis.”
“It’s unfortunate that it took our Democratic colleagues 12 days to agree to a deal that contains essentially nothing that Republicans ever opposed,” McConnell continued. “In my view it is indefensible that Main Street small businesses and their workers had their assistance cut off for partisan ‘leverage.’ That was the word of choice for one leading House Democrat – ‘leverage.'”
Fox News noted that not all Senators were happy with the massive spending bill because the U.S. continues to rack up debt at an alarming rate:
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., declared that Congress should stop “printing bailout cash” because the U.S. “can manage this disease without the draconian lockdown of the economy.” Announcing his opposition to the stimulus in no uncertain terms, he told colleagues: “We can’t continue on this course.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said that it was “not acceptable” to be passing legislation “without Congress actually being in session.”
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