As small businesses across the U.S. continuing to struggle under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, many have relied on loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to stay afloat through widespread economic shutdowns.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), however, is working to block a GOP resolution that would extend that program, as reported by Breitbart.
Democrats resist GOP option
The move comes as Pelosi continues to hold out for a costly COVID-19 relief bill — even as some within her own party are calling on her to compromise with Republicans in order to overcome the ongoing deadlock.
PPP is among the stimulus and relief programs that have expired since being enacted in the CARES Act that passed earlier this year.
Nevertheless, Pelosi has been persistent in her opposition to giving in to Republican demands for legislation with a much lower price tag. Even as moderate Democrats in swing districts become increasingly eager to reach a deal, the party united in blocking one stopgap measure to restart the PPP when it was introduced this week.
Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) backed the bill, which would provide small businesses that had lost 25% in revenue a second loan, extend the program until Dec. 31, and simplify the loan forgiveness process, according to Fox Business.
In the end, Democrats were successful in blocking the bill Chabot described as a necessary lifeline for many American businesses.
“Real people’s jobs continue to be in jeopardy through no fault of their own,” he said. “Our economy is depending upon America’s small businesses, and America’s small businesses are depending upon us today.”
The “only potential option”
In response to the Democratic Party opposition, Republicans announced plans to take up a discharge petition on Friday with the goal of forcing a vote on the proposal. At least 12 Democrats have considered signing the petition, as The Hill reported.
Moderate Democrats in the House wrote in a letter to Pelosi that they did not support the GOP petition, which they called the “only potential option” on the table, but nevertheless urged the speaker to seek compromise.
“We write to urge you to continue bipartisan negotiations with our Republican colleagues and the Administration, so that we may deliver meaningful relief for the American people,” they wrote, according to The Hill. “Currently, a discharge petition is the only potential option for COVID-19 related action on the House Floor; we do not believe that is the best path forward.”
While Pelosi is reportedly set to introduce a comparatively slimmer $2.4 trillion bill next week, critics still believe she is more interested in opposing the Trump administration than representing her constituents.