A federal measure to provide additional relief for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) hurt by the coronavirus pandemic will have to wait.
In a duel that ended the prospects for passage of more government aid this week, Democrats and Republicans staked out their positions and recessed until Monday, CNBC reported Thursday (April 9).
The fight began when Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, objected to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s motion to approve more loans for small business funding, the reported said.
The Kentucky Republican sought unanimous approval for an additional $250 billion into a loan program for small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cardin’s objection put the legislation on hold. McConnell urged Democrats not to block emergency aid because they want something more.
Cardin called McConnell’s move to pass the funding a political stunt.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the criticism, calling the Senate vote a stunt as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic. She said the administration was trying to jam a $250 billion request through Congress with 48 hours’ notice with little data to back it up, the Associated Press reported.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), then tried to unanimously pass a Democratic amendment that would provide $250 billion for $250 billion for hospitals and states. But McConnell blocked it, and the Senate recessed until Monday.
The stalemate came as jobless claims released Thursday (April 9) showed the coronavirus triggered another 6.6 million unemployment claims for the week ending April 4. Data from the Department of Labor reflect an increase of 187,538, or 3.1 percent, from the week ending March 28. During the same time period last year, 196,071 filed for unemployment.