House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted to holding up the approval of an additional $250 billion for the depleted small-business loans fund, following criticism over Congress’ lack of progress.
Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday evening, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that after being asked by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for Congress to approve $250 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, she requested “data on how that [money] is spent.”
“Before you know it, boom, all of a sudden, [the small-business relief fund] were already out of money. And when the secretary came and asked me for $250 billion, a quarter-of-a-trillion dollars, in 24 hours, I said, well, we want to see the data on how that is spent.”
“Also, we want to make sure that we are — as long as we are going to the floor, that we do so in a way that makes sure that everyone can participate in the program,” the California Democrat said.
Pelosi continued that at first, Republicans she was in negotiations with “said no no no, until about 100 hours ago, they said no. And now they have said yes.”
As for what the nation’s top elected Democrat got added to the new bill, Pelosi touted “about $120 billion more for small businesses in there geared to our underbanked communities, women- and minority-owned businesses, Native American, rural America, veterans, small business and the rest.”
Pelosi added that Democrats have also asked for $100 billion in spending on health-related matters, with $75 billion going to hospitals and $25 billion toward testing, which she argued was critical for reopening the economy.
“Testing is one of the places where we want the language to be as good as we can agree to, that we need a national strategy for testing,” she told Cooper. “Testing is the key that opens the door to our economy — testing, tracing, and isolation.”
On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also fired back against criticism that Democrats were holding up the next round of funds, touting that provisions they got added to the bill would provide aid to rural areas and minority communities.
“Well, I would say that the very things that we Democrats have been fighting for, are now going into the bill. If you had a connection with a bank, it was pretty easy to get a loan. If you didn’t, from one end of the country to another, we have been hearing that people can’t get the loans. The local restaurant, the local barbershop, the local drug store — or even startup businesses, manufacturing or … services that aren’t happening,” the New York Democrat told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“So we Democrats said, ‘Yes, we want to put the more money in [for small-business financial relief], but let’s set aside some money to make sure it goes to the rural areas, to the minority areas, to the unbanked.’ And the $60 billion for the disaster loan was [Democrats’] proposal, and now the [Trump] administration is going along with it.”