The Washington Post has reported that officials from the Treasury Department are preparing to seek $200 billion in funding from Congress for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed his support for the move, saying that adding the funding will be a priority for the Senate.
Can’t let the program “run dry”
“Twelve days ago, the Senate passed the largest rescue package in American history,” McConnell said in a statement released on Tuesday.
He went on: “Our bipartisan CARES Act provided more than $2 trillion in relief for workers and families, resources for hospitals and healthcare providers, and emergency lending to blunt mass layoffs and help workers continue to get paid.
“As the Administration works to implement this historic legislation and push money out the door, Senate Republicans believe any potential further action will need to be tailored to the actual needs of our nation, not plucked off preexisting partisan wish lists,” the Kentucky Republican added.
He also said “one such need is already clear: The small-business Paycheck Protection Program needs more funding.”
“This bold legislation from Chairman Marco Rubio, Chairman Susan Collins, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen is providing emergency liquidity to Main Street businesses nationwide to keep paychecks coming,” McConnell said.
He concluded by saying that “it is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry. That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks,” he remarked.
Push-back against Democrat pork
McConnell’s comment about “preexisting partisan wish lists” was a reference to Democrats having insisted on getting funds for a variety of left-wing causes, most with little connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. One example was a $25 million check to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the CARES Act.
The allocation caused outrage among Republicans, and some are now attempting to claw back the Kennedy Center’s funding. One of them is Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI).
“The Kennedy Center should not have been allowed to jump the line,” the Wisconsin congressman was quoted as telling the New York Post on Tuesday.
Steil went on: “They should not have had a sweetheart deal to allow them to get $25 million and jump the line in front of everybody else… That was wrong.”