Dem Sen Calls GOP Attempt to Save Small Business Fund a 'Political Stunt'

April 16, 2020

Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) called the Republican attempt to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) a "political stunt" on the day the fund ran dry.

"Mitch McConnell did what he does, which is he did a stunt on the Senate floor that was never designed to enact a law but rather to use it as a bludgeon against Democrats," Schatz said on MSNBC Wednesday night. "Nobody has any patience for political stunts. People want results, and we're ready to do that as soon as we can."

"You've got $250 billion you want to replenish this fund with, we could do that. Let's also do these other things that everybody has agreed upon, and we'll be able to do a package on a bipartisan basis," Schatz also said.

Schatz said he thinks the Senate "should replenish that fund" despite the Democrats' resistance to Republican funding efforts.

The PPP, which provides loans to small businesses hurt by the coronavirus crisis, was set to run out of funding Wednesday after giving out loans to more than 1.4 million small businesses. The coronavirus stimulus package initially allocated $350 billion for the program.

Senate Republicans introduced a measure last week to provide $250 billion to keep the program running, but the measure was blocked by Democratic lawmakers. Senate Democrats attempted to add another $250 billion in funding to bail out hospitals and state governments, but Republicans did not acquiesce.

Schatz's comments echo Sens. Doug Jones (D., Ala.) and Ben Cardin (D., Md.), who last week accused McConnell of "dumping money" and participating in a "political stunt" after blocking Republican attempts to fund the program.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) described negotiations as a "game of chicken" while Republicans called for a clean bill devoted to funding the program.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said lawmakers should include other programs in the PPP funding measure. "Let's negotiate and see how we can come to some conclusion that will benefit all of the needs," she said Tuesday.

Pelosi also intervened last month to stop the initial passage of the coronavirus stimulus package by pushing her own bill, which failed to pass due to its numerous partisan provisions.