Watch–Mitch McConnell: Democrats Holding Small Business Aid ‘Hostage’

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor on Thursday that Democrats continue to hold small business aid “hostage.”

The Senate adjourned on Thursday after Senate Democrats blocked McConnell’s measure to approve $250 billion in relief for small businesses. Democrats claimed that McConnell was not negotiating in good faith and that more money was needed elsewhere.

McConnell explained that the Thursday vote would have simply expanded on what was provided by the $2 trillion CARES Act.

“I’m not talking about changing any policy language that both sides negotiated together. I am literally talking about deleting the number 350 and writing 600 in its place. A completely clean bill,” he said.

McConnell blamed Democrats for delaying the aid as part of a broader move to include more Democrat provisions in a future bill.

He said:

The distinguished Democratic Leader and the Speaker of the House sought to use this crucial program to open broader negotiations on other topics, including parts of the CARES Act where literally no money has gone out the door yet.

The Democratic leadership has suggested they may hold Americans’ paychecks hostage unless we pass another sweeping bill that spends half a trillion dollars doubling down on a number of parts of the CARES Act, including parts that have not even started to work yet.

The country cannot afford unnecessary wrangling or political maneuvering. Treating this as a normal, partisan negotiation could literally cost Americans their jobs.

“We are asking small business owners across America to place their faith in us. We are asking them to keep workers on payroll because Congress, the Treasury, and the SBA will have their back,” McConnell said. “We must not fail them. My colleagues must not treat working Americans as political hostages.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said in a statement on Thursday that Democrats are playing “political games” with Americans’ livelihoods. She said:

After hearing from Iowans and seeing the overwhelming response of small businesses across the country, it’s clear we need to bolster the Paycheck Protection Program. We don’t have time for political games; we’re in a crisis. Workers and employers in Iowa and across the country need this relief now more than ever, so let’s put aside the politics and swiftly get this specific additional support for small businesses approved so money can keep flowing, Iowa workers can continue to collect a paycheck, and our state’s small businesses can stay afloat.

“As a Main Street entrepreneur, it’s sad that Senate Democrats have blocked $250 billion of additional aid for small businesses,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said in a statement on Thursday. “The PPP fund will soon run out of money and more businesses will close their doors while Democrats block additional relief.”

“Let’s pass more non-controversial funding for Americans’ paychecks. Let’s do it today. And then let’s continue to work together, with speed and bipartisanship. We will get through this crisis together,” McConnell concluded.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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