Pelosi: Democrats will fund depleted small business program but bill still must have ‘other money’

Pelosi says Democrats have been 'champions' of small businesses: 'We’re willing to give them that money but we also need the other money'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
April 17, 2020 - 10:05am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she's willing to fund the depleted Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses during the coronavirus but remained steadfast that Democrats want "other money" in the legislation. 

"I got a call last Tuesday from the secretary of the Treasury saying, 'I need a quarter of a trillion dollars in 48 hours.’ Really? We need resources for other things as well. It is not that we do not share the value of small business, we do. We have been their champions,” Pelosi said on a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

“But in order for them to succeed, people have to be well. People need to be safe and we need to have the state and local [funding],” she also said.

Pelosi continued, “We’re willing to give them that money but we also need the other money. The question is not why are we not just saying let's just do that and forget about hospitals, state and local. The question is of the Republicans, why are you ignoring your state?”

The $2.2. trillion CARES Act provided $150 billion in assistance for state governments and $100 billion for hospitals.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have proposed passing an additional $500 billion that would include $250 billion for the for the Paycheck Protection Program as well as increased federal funding for food stamps, state governments and hospitals.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are seeking passage of a “clean” bill that includes $250 billion for the small business paycheck program, which provides forgivable loans to businesses to prevent layoffs. It has reportedly run out of funds. Senate Democrats had blocked the clean bill from being passed in the Senate through unanimous consent, which would not have required every senator to vote in-person during coronavirus.

“I cannot understand, after watching another 5 million get unemployed, how Speaker Pelosi continues to say no. It’s just unheard of,” McCarthy said on Thursday during a press call with reporters. “All it simply takes is the Democrats to say yes. I don’t know what more that it takes. You’ve got 5 million reasons today."