McConnell announced Tuesday, October 13, that the chamber will vote on a “targeted” plan, including additional funds for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. PPP loans, which assist small businesses struggling to stay open during the pandemic, were created in March under the CARES Act and expired in early August.
McConnell said the initiative will be senators’ “first order of business” when they return next week.
“Unless Democrats block this aid for workers, we will have time to pass it before we proceed as planned to the pending Supreme Court nomination as soon as it is reported by the Judiciary Committee,” the majority leader stated.
Time is running out for legislators to pass another massive stimulus bill before the upcoming election, which is less than a month away, while negotiators continue to argue over the overall price tag.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow previously claimed that $130 billion is leftover from the first round of PPP. He explained that the money could be repurposed, specifically toward averting thousands of airline furloughs.
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McConnell Slammed Pelosi for Working ‘Hard to Ensure’ Americans Get ‘Nothing’
In his October 13 statement, McConnell slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Democrats, for “blocking policies they do not even oppose.”
Democrats last month turned down Senate Republicans’ $300 billion “skinny” bill proposal, The Wall Street Journal reported. In September, they passed their own $2.2 trillion revised HEROES Act instead.
“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose,” McConnell said in his announcement. “They say anything short of their multi-trillion wish list, jammed with non-COVID-related demands, is ‘piecemeal’ and not worth doing.
“Speaker Pelosi frequently says she feels ‘nothing’ is better than ‘something,’” he continued. “And she has worked hard to ensure that ‘nothing’ is what American families get.”
Meanwhile, both sides of the aisle recently denounced a $1.8 trillion proposal from the White House. Republicans blasted the plan as too costly, while Pelosi claimed it lacked funding for unemployment insurance, state and local aid, child care and other Democratic priorities, according to The Washington Post.
Trump Is Urging Congress to ‘Go Big or Go Home’
Also on October 13, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge lawmakers to “go big or go home” in relation to the stimulus — a stark contrast from his previous demands for targeted bills.
The president earlier this month backtracked after halting all stimulus talks until after the November 3 election. He then advocated for standalone bills specifically tailored toward stimulus checks and airline aid.
With confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett underway, Trump is also pressing Republicans to speed up the process and refocus on the coronavirus relief.
“The Republicans are giving the Democrats a great deal of time, which is not mandated, to make their self serving statements relative to our great new future Supreme Court Justice,” he tweeted. “Personally, I would pull back, approve, and go for STIMULUS for the people!!”
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, October 12, began its confirmation hearings for Barrett.