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‘This Did Not Have To Happen’: McConnell, McCarthy Blast Democrats For Blocking Funds For Small Businesses

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) U.S. President Donald Trump listen during a signing ceremony for H.R. 748, the CARES Act in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier on Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the $2 trillion stimulus bill that lawmakers hope will battle the the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) slammed Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a statement on Wednesday for refusing to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act, which will result in harm to Americans.

“The Small Business Administration and the Department of the Treasury report that the Paycheck Protection Program will exhaust its funding in a matter of hours,” the two said in a statement. “It will have to stop accepting applications for job-saving loans. Democrats have spent days blocking emergency funding for Americans’ paychecks and now the bipartisan program has run dry.”

The Wall Street Journal reported:

The Paycheck Protection Program was on track to exhaust most of its initial allocation of $350 billion in the early morning hours Thursday, with the Small Business Administration saying it had approved more than 1.5 million loans valued at more than $324 billion as of late Wednesday and loans were continuing to be processed. …

Both Democrats and Republicans want to add $250 billion to the small-business aid program, but have been sparring for days over whether to add restrictions to the funds. Democrats want to expand access to the loans as well as include more money for hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments. Republicans, meanwhile, said they want to keep the bill focused on increasing small-business aid and defer other funding debates until the next, broader legislation is crafted.

“This did not have to happen. Republicans have been sounding the alarm for more than a week,” the statement continued. “Last Thursday, Senate Republicans tried to pass a narrow and clean bill that would have simply put more money into this critical program without changing any of the underlying policies that passed the Senate and the House unanimously. Democrats blocked it. Even as the program is saving millions of American jobs, Speaker Pelosi has said she sees ‘no data as to why we need’ to keep funding it.”

The news comes as large swaths of the American economy has been effectively closed for last few weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China. The U.S., which has led the world in widespread testing, has nearly 630,000 confirmed cases and over 25,000 reported deaths from the virus. The hardest hit states in the U.S. are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, and California. The New York City area has been by far the hardest hit area in the country, accounting for nearly 1/3 of all the coronavirus cases in the U.S. and accounting for nearly half the deaths in the U.S.

“It has been stunning to watch our Democratic colleagues treat emergency funding for Americans’ paychecks like a Republican priority which they need to be goaded into supporting,” the statement continued. “Funding a bipartisan program should not be a partisan issue. The notion that crucial help for working people is not appealing enough to Democrats without other additions sends a strange message about their priorities.”

The statement concluded, “The cost of continued Democratic obstruction will be pink slips and shuttered businesses. We hope Democrats see reason soon and finally heed Republicans’ repeated calls for a funding bill that can quickly earn unanimous consent from all 100 senators and become law.”

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