SUBSCRIBE NOW
OPINION

'A public health disaster…and an economic disaster'

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Sen. Chris Coons joined Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends to discuss his priorities for an interim emergency coronavirus relief package in the Senate.

“I support, and Democrats support, increased funding for small business. But it’s got to also go to the emergency disaster loans, the EIDL loans, that do not have enough resources to get out the door, and we also have to make sure that these loans are going to lots of small businesses and small nonprofits – even those that don’t have an existing depository relationship with one of the major banks,” Coons said.

“[W]e’re in both a public health disaster, this pandemic, and an economic disaster, and we need to address both. Most states, most hospitals are seeing record shortfalls. We should be doing both: Providing support for our health systems and our states and providing support for small business. I’m very hopeful we are going to work this out within the next few days,” Coons said.

Q: Senator, what is going on with the Senate. With the Republicans they are just looking for another quarter of a trillion dollars for the Paycheck Protection Program. A clean bill. Just give us the money and we will continue it. However, the Democrats are asking for some add-ons like 100 billion for healthcare providers, 150 billion for state and local governments, and a 15% increase in food stamps. At such a perilous time, why ask for the add-ons now?

Coons: Steve, two things: Since we are not going to return to Congress this week or next week or perhaps any time soon, this bill has to pass both the Senate and the House by unanimous consent. I support, and Democrats support, increased funding for small business. But it’s got to also go to the emergency disaster loans, the EIDL loans, that do not have enough resources to get out the door, and we also have to make sure that these loans are going to lots of small businesses and small nonprofits – even those that don’t have an existing depository relationship with one of the major banks. But, frankly, Steve, we’re in both a public health disaster, this pandemic, and an economic disaster, and we need to address both. Most states, most hospitals are seeing record shortfalls. We should be doing both: Providing support for our health systems and our states and providing support for small business. I’m very hopeful we are going to work this out within the next few days.

Q: Well, that would be great if they could work it out. And people love to see things happen on a bipartisan basis. But, you know, if there is ever a time where suddenly it looks like one party is trying to push their agenda, the American people, at a time of crisis like this are going, “That’s why we hate Washington.”

Coons: Steve, I’ll remind you that the CARES Act, the last very large stimulus bill that we passed, ultimately passed unanimously. That means literally every single senator who was present to vote did vote for it, but that was after several days of disagreement about exactly what should be in that package. Ultimately, it included resources for large businesses, small businesses, the health system, hospitals, and for our state and local governments. I think we ought to follow that same pattern here. And you’ll see it enjoy unanimous support again.

Q: Well it, sounds, Senator, then you’re confident that it will pass on a bipartisan basis, which is exactly what the American people need and want to see.

Coons: That’s right, as long as we are taking care of our first responders, our healthcare professionals.

Q: Absolutely.

Coons: I have been listening to the leaders of hospitals up and down my state, my governor, John Carney, and his emergency management director, and we still have some serious shortfalls across the country and certainly here in Delaware in terms of resources and preparedness on the health side. I have also heard from lots of friends who run small businesses or small nonprofits who are struggling to connect with banks and to get loans. We need more resources on both sides. That’s the best way for us to move forward, Steve.