U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he hoped the Senate would soon pass legislation already passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives easing terms of the coronavirus small-business loan program.
“I hope and anticipate the Senate will soon take up and pass legislation that just passed the House, by an overwhelming vote of 417 to one, to further strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program so it continues working for small businesses that need our help,” McConnell, a Republican, said.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday neared passage of legislation increasing the amount of time, to 24 weeks from the current eight-week deadline, for small businesses to use Paycheck Protection Program loans.
As voting continued, the bill was headed to an overwhelming passage in the House.
Last month, the House passed a $3 trillion Democratic bill aimed at salving the heavy human and economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 85,000 Americans and shut much of the economy.
The bill, crafted by Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, passed mostly along party lines in a 208-199 vote.
But Republicans, who control the Senate, have promised it will be “dead on arrival” in their chamber.
The House voted 208 to 199 to pass a $3 trillion relief bill amid the coronavirus bringing the U.S. economy to a grinding halt.
The bill, however, is so radical that more than a dozen Democrats even voted against it.
Fourteen Democrats crossed party lines to vote against it, and New York Rep. Peter King was the only Republican who voted in favor.
The bill faced such extreme opposition that even CNN noted in its report that Pelosi “worked to lock in the support for the bill ahead of a final vote” and that she “worked hard behind-the-scenes to ensure she had the votes.”
Below are the 14 Democrats who voted against the bill.
14 Dem “no” votes against rule to vote on the HEROES Act include five moderates (I’ve starred them):
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) May 15, 2020
As detailed by The Hill, several of the Democrats who voted against the bill did not mince their words about how bad the bill is.
Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer slammed the bill as not being bipartisan.
“The next federal COVID-19 relief package must be focused on helping families, workers, small businesses, and local governments,” she said. “It needs bipartisan buy-in, and should not be tied up with unrelated provisions. I came to Washington to get things done, and this legislation only serves to push real relief further down the road.”
Democratic Oklahoma Rep. Kendra Horn said bills that lack bipartisanship during a time of crisis such as the pandemic are a “disservice to the American people.”
Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, said Pelosi’s bill would double the federal spending for the fiscal year and said spending of that scale needed input from both parties.
Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams Of Utah slammed the bill as a partisan “wish-list,” saying too many provisions in the bill strayed from the actual goal of helping the country.
Iowa Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne said she couldn’t vote for the bill “in good conscience,” calling it “Washington gamesmanship.”
Republicans also excoriated the bill.
“So much of what’s in this bill simply has nothing at all to do with the current crisis,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. “It’s more like a liberal Christmas … wish list. It would make more sense … to just send it straight to Santa Claus than to send it to the United States Senate. It would have a better chance of becoming law that way.”
It is also important to note that it speaks volumes that so many House Democrats slammed Pelosi’s bill publicly.
Thankfully, this radical bill has no chance at all to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.