The Senate on Tuesday finally passed a much needed coronavirus relief bill amounting to nearly $500 billion after being delayed for days by the Democrats.
The bill will replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with an additional $320 billion, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) with $60 billion, provide hospitals with another $75 billion and implement a nationwide virus testing program to facilitate reopening the economy.
The measure passed by voice vote, which simply requires each side to holler “yay” or “nay,” with the louder side winning. The House is expected to hold a vote on the measure on Thursday.
Minutes after the Senate passed the package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects this to be the last wave of payments to small businesses, and that PPP had saved some 30 million jobs.
President Trump indicated that there would soon be a crackdown of businesses and universities that took stimulus funds without needing them, specifically using Harvard as an example. “Harvard’s going to pay back the money,” Trump said. “They shouldn’t have taken it.”
On Tuesday prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for delaying a vote on more funding for several days, well after the PPP fund was exhausted last Thursday. Talks had dragged as the Democrats looked to add other priorities.
“Republicans never wanted this crucial program for workers and small businesses to shut down,” McConnell said. “We tried to pass additional funding a week before it lapsed. But Democratic leaders blocked the money and spent days trying to negotiate extraneous issues that were never on the table. I am grateful our colleagues have walked away from those demands and will finally let Congress act.”
McConnell went on to say he was “sorry that it took my colleagues in Democratic leadership 12 days to accept the inevitable, and that they shut down emergency support for Main Street in a search for partisan ‘leverage’ that never materialized.”
One Democratic Rep., Pramila Jayapal, was captured on video revealing the Democrat’s true motives in saying, “I think what you’re hearing from all of us on the call is that we have real concerns about giving away leverage now without getting some of the priorities we need.”
In a joint statement Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi and Schumer tried– as they always do– casting the blame for the delays on Republicans, despite their acknowledgement that it was their own attempts to add more items to the bill that slowed progress.
It is unfortunate that Republicans’ refusal to negotiate in a bipartisan way delayed agreement on this legislation,” they wrote. “Now, Congress will move swiftly to bring this legislation to the floor and pass it this week, so that we can bring desperately-needed resources to those who are suffering. As soon as it has passed in the House, we will advance CARES 2, which must be transformative and far-reaching.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed he was also “disappointed that Republicans did not work with us to strengthen SNAP benefits for the food insecure.”
Far left members of the Democratic party such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have indicated they’ll oppose the plan in its current form because it apparently doesn’t do enough for illegal immigrants and low-income constituents.
According to Fox News, Democrats have said with certainty that a “Phase 4” bill is on the way and that will be the Democrats true opportunity to pork it up in what is expected to be yet another massive spending bill.
Senate Democrats are apparently pursuing including funding for state and local governments, rental assistance, election integrity, the Postal Service, among a myriad of other things.