The Paycheck Protection Program intended to help small businesses bridge coronavirus lockdowns has run out of funds. Democrats, who opposed extending it, are now misquoting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to blame him instead.
All $350 billion in the PPP was exhausted by Thursday, as over 1.6 million small businesses sought funds to keep running through the coronavirus lockdowns. Some 22 million Americans have already lost their jobs due to what senior public health officials described as an “inconvenience” that has lasted over a month already.
Both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) placed the blame squarely on the Democrats, who last week refused to vote for a “clean” bill that would add funding to the PPP. Trump urged the opposition party to “stop playing politics” and accused it of “killing American small businesses.”
The PPP was part of a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to help the economy through what was initially supposed to be a two-week shutdown to stop the spread of the virus – which has since turned into a month, with some states wishing to extend it indefinitely. The relief was arguably already too little, too late by the time it was passed, having been delayed by over a week due to demands from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
In order to get it passed as quickly as possible, the White House basically sidelined the congressional Republicans and delegated Mnuchin to negotiate directly with Pelosi, agreeing to some notorious pork-barrel projects such as $25 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC – which ended up firing their staff anyway.
So it is doubly ironic that Mnuchin found himself the designated villain on Thursday, as Democrat activists accused him of saying that Americans are supposed to make the $1,200 cash payment from the government stretch for 10 weeks.
Steve Mnuchin thinks Americans can live on $1,200 for 10 weeks. pic.twitter.com/GrS0ON4gcm
Arizona Democrat Brianna Westbrook’s video of Mnuchin’s CBS appearance went viral. Within hours, Mnuchin’s name was being cursed by a chorus ranging from #Resistance activists and earnest Bernie Sanders followers, to mainstream media journalists and disgraced former members of Congress.
The trouble with it is that Mnuchin was not speaking about the $1,200 checks. His full quote, which sites like Raw Story dutifully cited – and then used a misleading clickbait headline to misinterpret it – literally refers to the entire $2 trillion CARES Act:
I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks.
The noise about the Treasury secretary conveniently drowned out any mention of Pelosi herself, who did her best Marie Antoinette impression by posting a video about enjoying a walk-in freezer filled with ice cream.
We all have found our ways to keep our spirits up during these trying times. Mine just happens to fill up my freezer. #LateLateShowpic.twitter.com/dqA32d5lU1
While the US healthcare system has not been overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients and the alarmist models used to justify the lockdowns were off by orders of magnitude, the virus has infected over 641,000 Americans and killed 31,590, according to official data as of Thursday.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!