Coronavirus / Economic Developments

Senate Democrats Block Efforts to Add $250 Billion to Fund Small Businesses

McConnell Excerpts from remarks made today by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the Senate floor regarding the CARES Act:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Much of the CARES Act is still being implemented, but one key program is already up and running. It’s the Paycheck Protection Program, from Chairman Rubio, Chairman Collins, Senator Cardin, and Senator Shaheen.

“It gives small businesses emergency capital so that workers can keep getting paychecks instead of pink slips.

“Just a few days after the program opened for business, $100 billion in loans have already been committed. That is 30 percent of the total funding, spoken for in just the first few days.

“That is very good news. It means this job-saving program is attractive to small businesses. Employers can access it.

“But it also means we need more funding and we need it fast.

“Soon I will ask unanimous consent to increase the funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to a new total of $600 billion.

“I’m not talking about changing any policy language that both sides negotiated together. I am literally talking about deleting the number 350 and writing 600 in its place. A completely clean bill.

“I want to add more money to the only part of our bipartisan bill that is currently at risk of running out of money.

“So I was surprised to see this simple proposal met uneasily by the Democratic leadership.

“The distinguished Democratic Leader and the Speaker of the House sought to use this crucial program to open broader negotiations on other topics, including parts of the CARES Act where literally no money has gone out the door yet.

“The Democratic leadership has suggested they may hold Americans’ paychecks hostage unless we pass another sweeping bill that spends half a trillion dollars doubling down on a number of parts of the CARES Act, including parts that have not even started to work yet.

“There is only one part of the CARES Act that is already at risk of exhausting its funding right now: The Paycheck Protection Program.

“We are asking small business owners across America to place their faith in us. We are asking them to keep workers on payroll because Congress, the Treasury, and the SBA will have their back. We must not fail them. My colleagues must not treat working Americans as political hostages.

  “To my Democratic colleagues — please, do not block emergency aid you do not even oppose just because you want something more.

“Nobody thinks this will be the Senate’s last word on COVID-19. We don’t have to do everything right now. In fact, our posture of needing unanimous consent does not even permit us to try to do everything right now. 

“We cannot play games with this crisis.

“Let’s pass more non-controversial funding for Americans’ paychecks. Let’s do it today. And then let’s continue to work together, with speed and bipartisanship. We will get through this crisis together.”

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