U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi urged Senate Democrats on Tuesday to stop delaying action on a proposed coronavirus relief bill and approve the measure in the interest of small business owners and workers.
Enzi, in a speech from the Senate floor, said the $2 trillion bill is needed to protect small businesses and their employees.
“The virus has closed businesses which in turn lay off employees,” Enzi said. “It has done it in what was a strong and growing economy. Why isn’t there more concern for the employees out of work? Why haven’t we already done at least the parts of this bill that give non-government employees some comfort and hope?”
Enzi said it was time to end partisan “gamesmanship” and approve the bill immediately.
Democrats have twice blocked a procedural vote to bring the bill to a final vote in the Senate, arguing it does not do enough for the average citizen and gives corporations hundreds of millions of dollars without sufficient oversight.
But Enzi said the minority party is also holding up passage of the bill because its members are demanding provisions that would advance the causes of the Democratic Party that have nothing to do with the epidemic.
“We are not doing climate change as part of this emergency bill,” he said. “Everything should have a direct connection to the coronavirus. Rome is burning and Congress is fiddling!”
The measure originally proposed in the Senate would provide financial assistance needed to keep businesses open so they could continue to employ people, Enzi said.
He added it would also include payments for taxpayers and billions of dollars for state and local governments.