CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of “playing politics” by trying to get $250 billion toward small-business loan funding without a majority of senators being in Washington, D.C.
“We all know there needs to be more money put toward small businesses. We all agree,” Manchin said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
“He just wanted to put it in the same program we already had, which is not working.”
McConnell on Thursday sought unanimous consent on the funding, meaning no lawmakers had to be present for the money to go through. A handful of Democrats objected and later failed to pass additional funding for hospitals as well as local and state governments.
The funding stunts came nearly two weeks after Congress approved a $2.2 trillion economic package related to the coronavirus, which dedicated $350 billion for the Paycheck Protection program. The small-business loan program has been overwhelmed with demand.
Manchin stressed his concerns with the current funding model, and his desire to help provide funding to small businesses soon.
“They’ll be no money left at $350 billion by the time they figure out how to disperse it,” he said. “We’re trying to help smaller businesses in rural America.”
Manchin said legislators have been drafting additional funding for the program and want to negotiate with McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“He don’t want to even negotiate,” Manchin said of McConnell. “He threw it out as a message: we wanted to put out $250 billion out for small businesses, but the Democrats didn’t. Come on, Mitch. Be a grown-up and start acting like a senator and a leader.”
The Senate is adjourned until Monday. No votes are scheduled until April 20.