If leadership starts at the top, as Symone Sanders declares here, then Team Biden is in serious trouble. Joe Biden’s senior campaign adviser called it “unacceptable” on Twitter last night that the Paycheck Protection Program has run out of funds, which is true. However, Biden’s senior advisor laid the blame on Donald Trump for not appropriating additional funds to replenish the PPP, which is … huh?
Maybe Biden’s “senior adviser” needs a remedial civics course to comprehend the office he’s seeking:
Let’s talk about how unacceptable it is that this administration has run out of money for small business loans.
It is the president and his administration’s job to make sure all Americans are taken care of during this time. Leadership starts at the TOP.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) April 19, 2020
Ahem. According to the Constitution, presidents don’t appropriate funds. That’s Congress’ job. You’d think that someone who rose to the level of “senior adviser” to a major-party presidential nominee would already know this, but here we are. Presidents do not have authority to spend more money than Congress allocates; in fact, they don’t even have the mechanisms to do so. Ironically, this tweet comes less than 90 days after the Democratic-controlled House attempted to remove Trump from office for merely delaying spending a few hundred million dollars in lethal military aid to Ukraine.
If Sanders answers this at all, she will likely claim that she’s criticizing Trump’s administration of the $350 billion fund. However, it’s clear that Trump spent it the way Congress authorized. Furthermore, that same Democratic-controlled House skedaddled immediately after passing the bill and hasn’t been seen in Washington DC since. They should have remained at their posts in this crisis and oversaw the operation of the fund, and adjusted its parameters as needed. That would have been leadership.
At least Trump stuck around and did his job, and got what money Congress allocated out to some of the businesses that need it. Instead, Nancy Pelosi’s idea of leadership is negotiating from the ice-cream hoard in her $24,000 fridges on the next tranche for the PPP. She wants state bailouts and other spending attached to the bill, and even a few concessions in that direction hasn’t gotten Pelosi on board to appropriate the funds:
Negotiations were sputtering late Sunday on a package of nearly $500 billion in aid to small businesses and health care providers while expanding COVID-19 testing capacity, with some haggling left to be done over the measure’s finer points.
Discussions were seen continuing into early Monday on a few remaining issues, such as whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or National Institutes of Health should administer a new $25 billion virus testing program.
Multiple sources familiar with the talks, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly, said beyond the testing provisions there were other open items and it wasn’t clear how quickly a deal might come together.
By late Sunday momentum had slowed considerably from earlier in the day. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the administration’s point man for the talks, and top Democratic leaders fanned out across the Sunday morning talk shows exuding optimism that they were on the cusp of a deal.
Leadership does indeed start at the top. So when will Sanders demand that Pelosi recall the House to DC to demonstrate some? And when will Joe Biden demand the same thing?