Sen. John Barrasso on Wednesday slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for obstructing legislators from bringing additionalfundsto thecoronavirusrelief Paycheck Protection Program.
“Right now, Nancy Pelosi is blocking these paychecks from the American public because she is blocking our effort to put more money to refill these paycheck opportunities, these paycheck protections, and she’s doing it in Congress,” the Wyoming Republican told “America’s Newsroom.”
Barrasso said that $700 million worth of paychecks have been sent to “hard workers” and “farmers,” but more help is needed.
“We’re spending about $30 billion a day so we’re going to hit the limit at the end of this week but, once again, Nancy Pelosi, with her political wish list is saying, ‘No, we’re not going to approve that unless you do all of these other things, spending money on other things that, right now, are not the focus of the American public.”
“People need their paychecks,” Barrasso added.
The Paycheck Protection Program helps businesses with under 500 employees obtain loans that can cover eight weeks of their payroll, benefits, rent and other expenses. The loans will be converted to grants and fully forgiven if 75 percent of the loan is used to keep employees on the payroll. The program was created as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that passed last month.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sought to pass a $250 billion cash infusion for the PPP – pushed by the White House – last week, but Democrats blocked the effort because they want add-ons to help businesses in disadvantaged communities and an additional $250 billion in funds for other priorities.
The extra funding is being sought amid concerns that the original $350 billion program to help businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic could run dry in the near future in the face of an enormous demand.
Democrats argued that they had a better plan. Their proposal would cost roughly double the Republicans’ and include an additional $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion more for state and local governments as well as increases to food assistance benefits.
As part of that plan, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for additional support for food stamps – or SNAP – by increasing the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent.
Barrasso said that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress worked together to help Americans during the public health crisis.
“The same Democrats that voted for the paycheck protection plan are now blocking the additional money, even though we have now run out of money for paycheck protection,” he said.