Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is engaged in a major public relations initiative, appearing on friendly media outlets to decry Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for “dragging his feet” on a bill to inject much-needed billions into the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable-loan fund largely for small businesses and franchises.
Pelosi seems determined to forget the events of the past two weeks, including interviews and press conferences she held where she implied there was no imminent need to refill the PPP’s coffers, and appearances on late night television featuring her $24,000 SubZero refrigerator/freezer.
On MSNBC Wednesday, Pelosi laid the blame for the stalled supplemental bill squarely at the feet of McConnell, whom she claims “delayed” the relief bill by days.
“Mitch McConnell likes to say we delayed the bill. No, he delayed the bill,” Pelosi told MSNBC. “Two weeks ago, he came to the floor and said, ‘This is all we’re doing. Just the 250.’ And Democrats were reunited, House and Senate. The Senate Democrats went to the floor and said, ‘No, no. … We have a better idea about hospitals and testing and more funds for all of the businesses, the lower — shall we say the unbankable small businesses.'”
Pelosi quickly added that she and her colleagues were “relieved” to learn yesterday that McConnell “finally came around to the fact that we had to go forward with this.”
Unreal, Nancy Pelosi blames Mitch McConnell for delaying the latest Wuhan coronavirus relief bill: "Mitch McConnell likes to say that we delayed the bill. No, he delayed the bill…So he was the one wasting time." pic.twitter.com/DUE2spL7n0
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) April 22, 2020
McConnell, of course, wanted a clean funding bill for the PPP — $250 billion in funding for the emptying program, so that it could continue operating in the interim between coronavirus relief plans. Democrats, sensing desperation, demanded the bill include a number of additional provisions, including money for hospitals, health care facilities, and state and local governments — all of which received a share of the $2.2 trillion CARES act that passed two weeks ago.
McConnell, unable to get the measure passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, was forced to negotiate — a situation that ultimately doubled the cost of the bill.
Last week, just two days before the PPP ran out of money completely, Pelosi was captured on tape in her weekly press conference suggesting that there was “no data” to support the idea that the PPP required a quick cash infusion. On Thursday, before the end of the day, the fund ran out of money.
Republicans didn’t take kindly to Pelosi’s blame-shifting, telling reporters Wednesday morning that Pelosi was rewriting history.
“The only explanation for Speaker Pelosi to blame anyone but herself for the Paycheck Protection Program delay is that she still has a brain freeze from all that expensive ice cream…,” one Republican operative said, referring to Pelosi’s massive freezer, which she opened for a late night host last week, revealing a stock of expensive artisanal treats.
McConnell may get the last word on the Speaker, however. In a meeting today, the Senate Majority Leader told reporters that the fourth coronavirus relief bill, which Pelosi planned to introduce in late April, was now off the table.
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