Well, Democrats took a stand last week, refusing to consent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to add another $250 billion to the federal relief program intended to help small businesses suffering from the coronavirus shutdown. Because the proposal did not hit a bunch of identity politics buttons – special funds for minority-owned businesses, carve-outs for banks in black communities, etc. – the Democrats blocked it. Well, thanks to their games, the program has run out of money. Sorry, struggling entrepreneurs looking for your money. The Democrats thought it was more important to pander to their voters.
Initially funded with $349 billion, the relief program was clearly headed towards a zero balance as early as last week as business owners rushed to take advantage of the funding. It was at this point that McConnell and Republicans went to the floor of the Senate with their proposal, hoping that such an obvious need could be handled by unanimous consent.
Unfortunately, even in times of crisis, the Democrats know how to make a problem all about them and their voters. They blocked the bill, left the program to run out of money, and here we are. As of Wednesday, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that 1.4 million applications had been approved, and that more than $300 billion of the original funds were already spoken for.
“Senate Democrats played a game of chicken with essential small business relief and now small business owners and their employees will suffer because of their inaction,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Jesse Hunt.
His remarks were echoed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who heads up the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
“Sadly it appears #PPP will grind to a halt tonight as the limit on $ allocated to guarantee #PPPloans about to be hit,” Rubio tweeted. “Now 700,000 small business applications are in limbo & no new loans will be made until the game of chicken in Congress ends & additional $ approved. Inexcusable.”
Even some Democrats, like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, expressed frustration with their party.
“The Senate should approve (additional) funding by unanimous consent ASAP,” she wrote. “Small businesses need our help to survive during this emergency.”
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t budge from her position on Wednesday night, insisting that Republicans need to fulfill their wish list if they want the bill to pass.
“State and local governments are desperate for resources. Hospitals, desperate for resources. That’s what we’re saying we need. Small businesses, state and local governments and hospitals, that is what the Senate [Democrats] put on the floor last week. We’re very proud of them for doing that. And that is something that needs to be done,” Pelosi said.
But what Pelosi and other Democrats don’t get is that one thing has nothing to do with the other. Let’s handle THIS, and then lawmakers can talk about the next stimulus bill, if one is required. Pelosi and Schumer are trying to throw their weight around at the exact wrong moment, at the expense of the exact wrong people.
But then, what else is new?