Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) applauded Democrats on Tuesday for abandoning their opposition to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) after taking “12 days to agree to a deal that contains essentially nothing that Republicans ever opposed.”
“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.”
In a statement, McConnell said that he was “encouraged” by the move from Democrats, noting that Republicans never wanted the program shut down.
“Republicans never wanted this crucial program for workers and small businesses to shut down. We tried to pass additional funding a week before it lapsed,” McConnell said. “But Democratic leaders blocked the money and spent days trying to negotiate extraneous issues that were never on the table. I am grateful our colleagues have walked away from those demands and will finally let Congress act.”
“This bipartisan agreement will provide more than $320 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is already helping millions of small-business employees receive paychecks instead of pink slips,” McConnell continued. “This is even more money than Senate Republicans first requested. At our request, there will now be a special focus on community banks and credit unions. Thanks to the hard work of colleagues such as Senator Collins and Senator Rubio, there will also be $60 billion more for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and because of the hard work of Senator Roberts, Senator Daines, and our other colleagues from rural states, it will be clear that farmers and ranchers are eligible.”
“In the week-plus while our Democratic colleagues delayed the urgent PPP funds, additional federal help for hospitals and healthcare providers became urgent as well,” McConnell concluded. “Republicans have always supported more medical funding as soon as necessary and I am proud this package will provide roughly $75 billion more to fund hospitals and healthcare providers in this crisis. Thanks to Chairman Alexander and Senator Blunt, there is also an additional $25 billion for state-led COVID-19 testing plans and for research, development, and other testing support from key agencies such as the CDC and the NIH.”
In a statement on the Senate floor, McConnell said: “It’s unfortunate that it took our Democratic colleagues 12 days to agree to a deal that contains essentially nothing that Republicans ever opposed. In my view, it’s indefensible that main street small businesses and their workers had their assistance for partisan leverage. That was the word of choice for one leading House Democrat. Leverage. The American people cannot be political leverage. So, I’m glad that we’re now poised to move ahead. Now, let’s just get this done, let’s move ahead and get it done for the American people.”
I’m proud of Congress’s new bipartisan agreement. I am just sorry that Democrats shut down emergency support for Main Street in a search for partisan “leverage” that never materialized.
It’s time to move forward together and get this done for the American people. pic.twitter.com/cUkQU0MT9P
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) April 21, 2020
The move from Democrats came one day after the Trump campaign released a brutal campaign ad slamming Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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