Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA) has charged that if unemployment jumps next week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be to blame.
Speaking on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, the House minority leader lambasted Pelosi Tuesday for “holding up” aid to American businesses in the midst of widespread shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, Breitbart reported.
Pelosi’s partisan games
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was established as part of Congress’ $2.2 trillion “Phase 3” stimulus deal to help Americans — and their employers — stay afloat amid the global pandemic. Fox Business reported at the time that the program was “designed to get cash in the hands of small businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and incentivize them to keep staff on payroll, or re-hire workers who have already been laid off.”
But it didn’t take long for the funds to run dry. In less than two weeks, the $349 billion allotted for the program had been “completely depleted,” according to PBS NewsHour.
Republicans in Congress soon proposed adding $250 billion in additional funding for the PPP, PBS reported, but Democrats, led by Pelosi, blocked the measure, arguing that any additional legislation should include increased funding for hospitals and state and local governments, among other causes, according to MarketWatch.
Striking a deal
ABC News reported Tuesday that a deal had finally been reached on Capitol Hill, with the Senate “unanimously” approving a $484 billion package that would give $310 billion to the PPP, as well as “an additional $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion to testing, including resources for states,” according to ABC. But according to McCarthy, it came too little, too late.
“There is a deal that is done, but we didn’t have to be here,” McCarthy told Fox’s Ed Henry on Tuesday, in video shared by Breitbart. “We waited — two weeks ago we said this money was going to run out. Remember what this is: this is a deal to keep people employed, to keep small businesses able to stay afloat while government told them they had to shut down.”
McCarthy predicted that up to 30 million jobs had been saved already by the program, but said there remain at least 700,000 pending applications for small business loans. “Thursday, we’ll get the new unemployment numbers — that’s going to be Pelosi’s unemployment,” the House minority leader said, according to Breitbart. “She did not have to do this. This was a program that worked better than any program we’ve seen.”
He went on:
We’ve been able to move in 14 days the amount of money that [the] Small Business Administration had been able to move in 14 years. Think of that, 30 million jobs saved. But how many people got laid off this week simply because Democrats wanted to use leverage to change the direction and the restructuring of government, like their No. 3, [House Majority Whip James] Clyburn [D-SC], said was the goal with [the] coronavirus to do?
Indeed, if Democrats like Pelosi had agreed to add funds to the PPP weeks ago, when Republicans asked, perhaps its coffers wouldn’t have run dry. Thankfully, at least McCarthy has his eye on the ball here.
Watch a clip of his interview below:
Tomorrow we’ll find out how many more Americans got laid off in the last week. Those will be on Pelosi.
She wasted two weeks as small business ran out of money to keep employees on the payroll. pic.twitter.com/CJEbYfNVdb
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 22, 2020