On Thursday, the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ran out of money, having disbursed all of its funds to small businesses across the country.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sat in her mansion in San Francisco, refusing to call the House back into session to replenish the fund — and enjoying gourmet ice cream from her $24,000 freezer.
Not only that: Pelosi was proud of her self-indulgence, tweeting her appearance this week on CBS’ Late, Late Show.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 14, 2020
Back in Washington, Senate Democrats — encouraged by Pelosi — continued to block Republican attempts to pass a $250 billion extension to the PPP by unanimous consent, i.e. without requiring all of the Senators to show up and vote in person.
Democrats want to add all sorts of other riders — such as $150 billion for states, $100 billion for hospitals, and set-asides for women and minorities. Republicans say all that is debatable — but for now they want a “clean” bill that simply funds the PPP.
It is an entirely reasonable request, under the emergency circumstances.
But Pelosi has refused — for more than a week — to consider the idea.
Last Thursday — two days after Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requested the $250 billion — Pelosi told reporters that there was “no data as to why we need it.”
As if the thousands of small business closures, and the millions of jobs lost every week of the shutdown, were not data enough to convince her of the need for emergency action.
Even some Democrats have had enough. Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Tina Smith (D-MN) both urged their party to pass the PPP. But their protests have fallen on deaf ears. Pelosi wants to increase the pain, hoping voters will blame Trump.
If Republican Paul Ryan had still been Speaker, and had been blocking a “clean” spending bill, he would have been impaled by now on the pitchforks of angry Capitol Hill journalists.
When Republicans shut down the government in 2013 to oppose the implementation of Obamacare, then-President Barack Obama called it “life-or-death stuff.” The media agreed.
Now that lives, and livelihoods, are actually at stake, the media are silent.
And Pelosi knows the media will let her get away with it.
That is why she deigned to allow cameras into her home, to show Americans — millions of whom are running out of money for basic necessities like food — just how much ice cream she intends to eat.
Aside from conservative media outlets, which have shown the expected displays of outrage, the mainstream media have shrugged. They show no interest in holding Pelosi accountable for what she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are doing to the American economy.
Pelosi’s behavior on PPP is part of a pattern. She also delayed the passage of the emergency relief bill last month, jetting in from San Francisco to scuttle bipartisan negotiations in the Senate. She insisted on drafting her own version of the bill — which included giveaways to left-wing special interest groups, and urgent priorities such as “ballot harvesting” (recognized as “fraud” in states outside California).
During the delay that resulted from Pelosi’s antics, millions more jobs were lost.
The Speaker knew that her bill would not pass. But she wanted to deny President Donald Trump a victory. From the beginning of the crisis, she and her party have tried to pretend that he is not in charge.
Pelosi deliberately omitted the president from her national address on the coronavirus in March. Back then, she boasted of Congress’s “swift action” to pass emergency funding.
But once Trump began asking for more relief, including the PPP, she found every reason to delay.
While Pelosi dithers, more and more American small businesses are being forced to close their doors and lay off workers. The media share the blame: they never would have let a Republican do this. Their double standard is killing American jobs.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.