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Thomas Gallatin / April 17, 2020

Dems Block Additional Money for Small Businesses

Pelosi and Schumer play partisan politics while small businesses struggle to stay afloat.

It’s no secret that American businesses are hurting as a result of the China Virus pandemic shutting down vast swaths of the U.S. economy. Currently four out of 10 businesses are temporarily closed after just over a month of shutdowns, and if the shutdowns lasts another three months, estimates are that up to half of the country’s businesses will close permanently.

Small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the shutdowns, and none more so than the restaurant industry — only one in five restaurant owners believe they will be able to survive. Currently, only 30% of salaried restaurant employees and less than 10% of hourly employees remain employed. More than three-quarters of restaurant owners say sales have dropped by at least 50%, while 80% of owners don’t believe that the take-out and delivery options they have switched to will be enough to keep them afloat much longer.

Even with President Donald Trump’s just-released plan for reopening the nation’s economy, the guidelines’ earliest date for engaging even the initial lifting of restrictions is still two weeks away.

Meanwhile, the recently passed $2.2 trillion CARES Act’s $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses so they can stay afloat and retain their employees, ran dry yesterday. That’s entirely due to the fact that congressional Democrats elected to play partisan politics and blocked the attempt by Republicans to add an additional $250 billion to the program.

Standing in her kitchen in front of her $24,000 double refrigerator stuffed with expensive gourmet ice cream, Speaker Nancy Pelosi ridiculously attempted to explain why she supported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s obstruction. Pelosi dubiously asserted that Democrats want to make sure that everyone is getting funds. It was shockingly out of touch, and Republicans quickly labeled her “Nancy Antionette.”

The fact of the matter is, Pelosi and Schumer are holding additional PPP funding hostage in a ploy to gain more concessions from Republicans for programs that are entirely disconnected from even remotely helping small businesses.

As The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, “In a joint statement Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for ‘further changes’ to the Paycheck Protection Program, plus ‘significantly increased’ funding for disaster grants and loans, plus ‘additional support’ for the food-stamp program, plus ‘adequate funding’ for nationwide virus testing and personal protective equipment, plus ‘the collection and publication of demographic data’ so that ‘we can accurately determine the level of impact on under-served communities and communities of color.’”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday hammered Democrats for blocking the funding. “Every Senate Republican was ready to act today,” he said. “But Democrats would not let us reopen the program.” In fact, two Democrat senators, Kirsten Sinema (AZ) and Tina Smith (MN), broke with their party and called for additional funding with no new strings attached. Even the Leftmedia is wondering why Pelosi and Schumer are blocking the funding. NBC News anchor Chuck Todd worriedly opined, “The side that looks like they’re holding up money, I think, is bad politics. … I think that [the] small-business money issue is something that’s more front and center with the public than the issue of reimbursing the states. And so I think that on a perception marker here, sort of your short-term politics, I think the Republicans have the upper hand.”

Small-business owners left out in the cold can only hope pressure on Democrats forces them to do the right thing.

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