House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t know of any Democrats urging for quick passage of a clean funding bill to replenish the exhausted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act set up to save small businesses.
“You’ve even got some of your own Democrats who are saying, you know, those other programs are important. We should negotiate those in a new package. But it’s important to pass the PPP funding right now by unanimous consent. Why not do that?” asked George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
“Well, I don’t know who’s saying that,” Pelosi said. “But I will say overwhelmingly, my caucus and we’re working closely with the Senate Democrats, know that we have an opportunity and an urgency to do something for our hospitals, our teachers, and firefighters, and the rest right now. And then we are preparing our next bill.”
The House speaker said she was trying to extract every concession possible from Republican lawmakers while holding life-support for small businesses hostage.
“Everything we’ve done — three bills in March were all bipartisan. This interim package will be too. And the businesses will have the money in a timely fashion. So again, maybe you find some who may say something but overwhelmingly, the caucus is — let’s get as much as we can for those who are helping to fight this fight so that we can soon open our economy.”
Several prominent Democrats however, have urged immediate passage of legislation to fund the now-depleted PPP which ran dry on Thursday.
“It’s time to stop the partisan bickering and come together to fix this. Congress must act in a bipartisan way to quickly invest more funding into the PPP and we need to do so in a way that protects small businesses and healthcare providers like those across rural West Virginia,” said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin last week. He was also joined by Democratic Sens. Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Tina Smith of Minnesota.
Arizona businesses are counting on us to help them during this emergency. I’m calling on leadership in both parties to get thru this stalemate ASAP – we can’t wait longer. https://t.co/FkzvfixOQg
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) April 16, 2020
Minnesota small businesses need relief now. I fought hard for this program and am now pressing for additional funds, faster delivery and implementation improvements to help more Minnesotans get assistance ASAP. https://t.co/POKKYaL8OS
— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) April 16, 2020
On Sunday, Pelosi also disputed accusations that she downplayed the coronavirus in February by encouraging visitors to San Francisco’s Chinatown.
On “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace,” Wallace noted that Pelosi “went on a walking tour around Chinatown” to promote the city’s tourism declaring “everything is fine… We think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown”
“If the president underplayed the threat in the early days, Speaker Pelosi, didn’t you as well,” Wallace asked the House speaker.
Pelosi claimed she was just fighting racism.
“What we were trying to do is end the discrimination, the stigma that was going out against the Asian-American community and in fact, if you will look, the record will show that our Chinatown has been a model of containing and preventing the virus, and I’m confident in our folks there and thought it was necessary to offset some of the things that the president and others were saying about Asian-Americans and making them a target.”