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Democrats Block Votes on GOP Stimulus, PPP Bill in Senate

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Senate Democrats blocked Wednesday a vote on Republican bills to add more funds to the Paycheck Protection Program as well as a $500 billion stimulus plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sought a vote on the two plans despite continued negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a broader stimulus package.

“Democrats have said we shouldn’t pass any more relief at all unless Speaker Pelosi gets her whole far-left wish list, including all kinds of non-COVID-related demands,” McConnell tweeted early Wednesday afternoon. “Working families in Kentucky and around the country deserve better than this obstruction.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted: “We hear Democrats say we shouldn’t do SCOTUS to focus on the virus but we vote & Democrats block us.”

On Tuesday, McConnell said that he was “aware that discussions continue between the president and the speaker about a larger package. Obviously, if that were to come over, we’d have to consider it and would consider it.”

The GOP’s PPP funding bill, introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, refunds and reopens the PPP.

The bill would “establish a whole second round for the hardest-hit small businesses that need help most. And thanks to the efforts of several colleagues, the legislation will also streamline the program and strengthen oversight,” McConnell said Tuesday afternoon.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the Republican PPP bill “leaves out so much that the [Democrats’] Heroes bill has in it.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday in a video interview with The Washington Post that McConnell’s bill is “$1.3 trillion less than what Secretary Mnuchin and the White House are talking about. So it’s clear that the Republicans don’t have agreement among themselves, which makes it very difficult to get an agreement with us. The most difficult thing is, Senator McConnell has not come forward with any kind of reasonable compromise close to what the White House and the Speaker are talking about, or the speaker and [Secretary] Mnuchin are talking about.”

Pelosi told colleagues late Tuesday afternoon that her most recent talks with Mnuchin provided “more clarity and common ground” on an agreement.

The Tuesday deadline to strike a deal, Pelosi said, “enabled us to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise.”

Pelosi said her talks with Mnuchin would resume Wednesday afternoon.

Pelosi’s goal is to draft a stimulus bill by the end of the week and bring it to the House floor for a vote next week, then have the Senate vote on it and get it to President Donald Trump to sign before the election.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday that “we’re down now to looking at some of the language in some of the provisions to make sure there aren’t any poison pills there. If we can get that right and hopefully the numbers will get right … If there’s a deal to be done, it’s there for her [Pelosi] to do, and if it doesn’t get done the blame will be totally on Speaker Pelosi’s shoulders.”

Rubio and Collins, as well as Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced Tuesday the Small Business Access to Recovery Capital Act, to provide expanded relief measures to the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program for one year.

The bill would expand small business’ access to the 7(a) Loan Guaranty program for one year by:

  • Waiving borrower and lender fees;
  • Increasing the government guarantee to 95%;
  • Increasing the maximum loan value from $5 million to $10 million; and
  • Waiving debt repayment of principal, interest and fees for any new loans made under the 7(a) program for one year.

— Check out Senate to Vote on Stimulus, PPP Funds This Week on ThinkAdvisor.