US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposed emergency spending plan to help small businesses cope with the coronavirus outbreak, saying it did not do enough to help hospitals or state and local governments.
Pelosi, in a statement before a call with fellow Democrats planned for Thursday, also called on the Federal Reserve to extend its loans to include nonprofit organizations as well as universities under a previously approved coronavirus-related relief lending program.
"We cannot accept Leader McConnell's proposals that would only perpetuate the flaws that are threatening the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses and would do nothing to aid desperate hospitals and state and local governments," she said.
Senate Republicans are pressing for approval of $250 billion in small-business loans, on top of $349 billion allocated by Congress in a $2.3 trillion measure passed last month following an earlier partisan standoff.
But the effort has run into opposition from Democrats led by Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who want the same $250 billion but would set aside some of the lending for community banks to aid minority-owned and rural businesses and provide aid to others including hospitals, states and the poor.
On Tuesday, Pelosi also took aim at a new Federal Reserve lending facility to support bank lending to small and mid-sized businesses, saying the Fed and the administration were excluding nonprofit groups including colleges and universities.
"This is a significant blow," she said, while calling on Democratic lawmakers to urge groups in their districts to provide feedback to the Fed.