Kevin McCarthy says new stimulus bill should have been done weeks ago: Pelosi, Dems wanted to use 'leverage'

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A new emergency relief package for the over 20 million unemployed Americans whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus would have been done weeks ago had House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats not tried to use their leverage for political gain, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed Tuesday.

In an interview on "America's Newsroom" with host Ed Henry, McCarthy, R-Calif., confirmed that a deal is now done, but complained about Democrats' lethargic response.

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"Two weeks ago we said [the CARES Act] money was going to run out. Because remember what this is. This is to keep people employed. To keep small businesses able to stay afloat while [the] government told them they had to shut down," he said. "If you look at this, we saved 30 million jobs through this program. But, there are 700,000 applications sitting there. Nancy Pelosi has stopped it."

"And," McCarthy added, "when you look at [Rep. Pramila] Jayapal ... she was afraid: let's not give up now our leverage. We'll give it too soon."

"Thursday we will get the new unemployment numbers. That's going to be Pelosi's unemployment. She did not have to do this," he stated.

"This is a program that worked better than any program," McCarthy continued further. "We've been able to move in 14 days the amount of money that [the] Small Business Administration has been able to move in 14 years. Think of that."

"Thirty million jobs saved, but how many people have got laid off this week simply because Democrats wanted to use leverage to change the direction and the restructuring of government, like their number three Clyburn said it was the goal with coronavirus to do so?" he asked.

Henry then pointed to Democrats' explanation, arguing that they wanted to make sure money did not go to big companies – as had been reported – and that the president had failed on widespread testing.

McCarthy laughed at the suggestion.

"Well, let's see, if 74 percent of the $349 billion went to small businesses that have a payroll of less than $60,000...If 60 percent of all the money [that] went through banks of the smallest size of $10 billion or less, the facts just don't add up," he remarked. "If that was the case, why did Nancy Pelosi hold up the CARES Act to [bring in] the Green New Deal or fight to have more money for the Kennedy Center or a national endowment for the arts? Their action does not speak correctly to what they are trying to say."

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"This president has been able to do something that we've never seen before in America. And that, to me, they have to stop playing politics. The answer that Nancy Pelosi gave sitting with her refrigerator and her ice cream while thousands of jobs are being laid off — there's no answer for that," McCarthy told Henry.

"There [are] 22 million reasons why the Democrats should have said 'yes' two weeks ago. How many [millions] more are going to get laid off because of Pelosi's delay? That's going to be the answer given on Thursday," he concluded.