Schumer Defends Blocking Small Business Aid

April 17, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) defended blocking small business aid one day after the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money and the Senate adjourned for the weekend.

"First of all, to give the money to the PPP program without correcting it would make no sense. You would still have more than half of the businesses left out and getting no money," Schumer said on Morning Joe Friday morning. "Don't just ask Democrats. Eight Republican senators said that in a letter to Mitch McConnell. The Chamber of Commerce, hardly a Democratic organization, also agreed. So we've got to fix that program as we give it more money."

Schumer also pushed back on claims that Democrats were blocking funding, saying the claims weren't true and the program should be funded. He said Democrats were delaying the aid because they want to expand funding to include more priorities. He added that lawmakers are making progress towards an agreement.

Schumer's comments come one day after the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gives forgivable loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, ran out of funding. Senate Republicans introduced a measure to provide the program with an additional $250 billion last week, only for Democrats to block the measure.

The Senate adjourned Thursday without coming to an agreement on additional funding for the program. It will not reconvene until Monday.

Senate Democrats Tina Smith (Minn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) called for immediate small business funding after their colleagues resisted Republican efforts to fund the program.

Schumer tried to address concerns that lawmakers in his party were bucking party leadership.

"I spoke to Senator Sinema. Look at her Twitter. She's very smart. She said both sides ought to come together and come to an agreement. That's what we think," Schumer said.

Other Senate Democrats denounced Republican efforts to fund the program. Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) accused McConnell of conducting a political stunt and "dumping money" to preserve the program.