Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was the lone House Democrat on Thursday to vote against the $484 billion coronavirus relief package that provides additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that ran out of money two weeks ago dedicated to small businesses; as well as aid to hospitals and to expand coronavirus testing.
The House overwhelmingly passed the package 388-5-1. The measure, which the Senate passed unanimously on Tuesday, provides an immediate $310 billion to replenish the PPP that provides forgivable loans in the form of a grant to small businesses devastated by the pandemic. Roughly $60 billion of the additional PPP funds would be directed to rural and minority-owned companies. It also provides another $60 billion for an economic disaster-relief program, $75 billion for hospitals and health care facilities to address coronavirus expenses and lost revenue and $25 billion to facilitate and increased coronavirus testing.
Ocasio-Cortez, who represents a district that has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus, argued that the series of relief packages passed by Congress have not going far enough to help people in need and the current measure doesn’t have a safeguards to ensure mom-and-pop businesses receive such funding before big companies like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Shake Shack.