Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Public Affairs Monica Crowley said Thursday that a COVID-19 relief bill is in the works to be passed as soon as possible, despite the unwillingness of democratic congressional leadership to negotiate terms over the last few months.
“We are hopeful that we can get this done in the next week or so,” said Crowley in an interview on The Foreign Desk with Lisa Daftari podcast.
Since the middle of summer, the ongoing impasse between Left and Right has meant a delay on a meaningful stimulus package needed by many Americans, particularly small business owners.
“Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership in Congress hasn’t really been willing to meet us in common sense terms so we could get a targeted and thoughtful relief bill to the Americans and the sectors of the economy that need it most,” said Crowley.
President Trump “has brought a passion for America’s great small businesses,” and Crowley expressed that it “has been incredibly disappointing” seeing politics intervene with Americans receiving economic relief, particularly when there are $130 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, waiting for Congress to be released to small businesses.
“The Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) had two tranches of money to fund it. When it expired at the end of July there remained $130 billion or so still in the PPP pot for small businesses. That money is still sitting there. So the president has said, and Secretary Mnuchin has said, repeatedly in these negotiations that that money is just sitting there and all it needs is for Congress to turn the key again and get that money flowing back to our small businesses that really need it.” Crowley explained.
President Trump cannot act unilaterally to release the funds, as it is a new appropriation.
Aside from the current congressional struggle to approve a relief bill, Crowley emphasized President Trump’s economic record throughout his presidency.
“It is true that President Trump before the pandemic was presiding over the longest economic expansion in American history, and now he is presiding over the fastest economic recovery from a crisis in American history,” said Crowley.
“We saw record growth, record employment, record unemployment for every demographic including African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, women, veterans, Americans with disabilities. They all had unemployment rates at or below the record lows.”
The private sector background President Trump brought to the White House has served the country well in unprecedented times, according to Crowley, and the president’s “sole focus is getting every American back to work.”