The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the $484 billion coronavirus relief package to replenish the depleted small business loan program, with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) being the only Democrat in both the House or Senate to oppose the bill.
The House passed the bill, which includes $310 billion for the government’s phase-three Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), by a 388-5 margin — sending it to President Trump’s desk after the Senate passed the bill on Tuesday. Four House Republicans — Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Jody Hice of Georgia, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — along with former Republican Justin Amash (I., Mich.) joined Ocasio-Cortez in voting against the bill.
Speaking to CNN’s Manu Raju, Ocasio-Cortez explained that her problem with the bill was “giving Republicans what they want.”
“McConnell is already talking about the deficit the moment we talk about getting people relief,” she said. “. . . That to me is a signal that Republicans are done.”
She added: “If they don’t want the next stimulus, what leverage do we have to pass” further relief?
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 23, 2020
The new funding includes $60 billion — $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in grants — for companies with less than $50 billion in total assets, with $30 billion of that for firms with less than $10 billion. The bill also includes $75 billion in additional funding for hospitals and health care providers, and $25 billion to help fund the nationwide effort to expand coronavirus testing.
Republicans and Democrats have sparred over the draining of SBA funding, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) saying Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) “delayed the bill,” but admitted that Democrats did reject a simple reauthorization proposed by Republicans.
“Democrats should never have made the Paycheck Protection Program lapse. The House must follow the Senate’s lead and vote today to re-open it,” McConnell tweeted ahead of the House vote Thursday.
Ocasio-Cortez drew criticism earlier this week for tweeting, and then deleting, praise over the U.S. oil market reaching negative territory for the first time ever. Over four million Americans applied for unemployment last week, according to data released Thursday, bringing the number of coronavirus jobless claims to over 26 million since last month.