Senate Democrats Block McConnell’s Bid For $250 Billion More In Small Business Aid

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Democrats in the Senate on Thursday blocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s request for more aid for small businesses, calling it a “political stunt.”

The Republicans bill would have put $250 billion more into a loan program for small businesses. McConnell was hoping it would pass by unanimous consent, however, Democrats blocked it from passing. Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen both were on the Senate floor and voiced their opposition. Killing the bill, for now.

“I’m afraid that this unanimous consent is basically a political stunt because it will not address the immediate need of small businesses in the legislation that we have passed,” Cardin said.

President Donald Trump, right, arrives for a Senate Republican policy luncheon with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

McConnell urged his colleagues to approve the bill, saying they could later hold votes on anything they believe to be urgent relating to coronavirus. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Raise Historic Number In Fundraising — Nearly Double Previous Record)

“This does not have to be nor should it be contentious,” McConnell said Thursday on the floor. “To my Democratic colleagues, please do not block emergency aid you do not even oppose just because you want something more,” McConnell asked. But, Democrats have their own plan, saying they want changes added, to make sure the money would be going to those in communities struggling harder than most.

The Senate will not be back in session until Monday.

“16.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment in less than a month and Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats refuse to stop playing partisan games with critical small business relief,” NRSC Communications Director Jesse Hunt said Thursday after the vote. “To once again threaten our job creators over a liberal wish list is an outrageous dereliction of duty at a time when people’s livelihoods are at stake. Every Senate Democrat owns this failure to act.”