Sharice Davids blames ‘partisan bickering match’ for shortage in small business aid

April 16, 2020
In The News

Rep. Sharice Davids criticized leadership of both parties Thursday for the standoff over additional funding for the program intended to enable small businesses to pay their workers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davids, D-Kansas, made her comments Thursday as the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program already appears to be out of money. The program was part of the recent stimulus legislation and is aimed at helping businesses under 500 employees stay afloat as social gathering restrictions make it difficult for retailers and other businesses to operate.

“It was so clear right off the bat that we needed to get more resources into this program. This is part of the thing that people look at the political process and wonder what’s going on,” Davids said Thursday. “Small business is the backbone of our economy and this should not be a partisan bickering match.”

Senate Republicans attempted to pass $250 billion in additional funding for the program last week through unanimous consent, a process that enables Congress to pass legislation without the full membership in Washington. But the measure was blocked by Senate Democrats who wanted to amend it with additional support for food assistance programs, aid to health care providers and money to help states and cities.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is working on a compromise with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Davids, a freshman Democrat and member of House Small Business Committee who is a top target for national Republicans, blamed leaders of both parties, including her own, for allowing the small business program to run out of money.

“We need to get funding into this program… I look at this in a pragmatic way and what I need from our leadership in both parties is to get it done,” Davids said, calling for a compromise and indicating she’d be OK with temporarily delaying the Democratic proposals if it meant more funding for the program in the short-term.

Davids’ voting record has typically aligned closely with Democratic leadership throughout her first term and Thursday’s criticism of her own party was a rare break.

As of April 13, nearly 20,000 Kansas businesses had been approved to receive roughly $3.7 billion in aid. In Missouri, roughly 34,000 businesses were set to receive $6.4 billion, according to a Small Business Administration report.

Republicans from Kansas and Missouri heaped blame on Democrats for Congress’ failure to pass the funding last week before it would’ve affected aid to businesses still waiting for assistance.

“We needed this money last week,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, told reporters Thursday on a press call.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, said the standoff would put jobs at risk.

“These jobs are paychecks that help Missouri workers put dinner on the table and provide for their families,” she said. “Now, the PPP has exhausted its initial funding, leaving millions more workers out to dry as small businesses have to go without critical funding they need to stay afloat.”