GOP ads hit vulnerable Senate Democrats over small business funding

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is releasing digital advertisements targeting two vulnerable Senate Democrats over the party’s opposition to a GOP bill to boost funding to small businesses amid the coronavirus.

The ads, targeting Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Michigan Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Hillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos MORE, say that families in their states are “facing an unprecedented crisis” and that the senators “just blocked their paychecks” by opposing the Republican plan.

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“Nearly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last few weeks, but Senate Democrats, including Senator Peters, continue to play partisan games with critical small business relief,” said NRSC spokesman Nathan Brand of the Michigan ad. “Michigan deserves better than Peters’ attempt to once again threaten small businesses and their workers because of his and [Senate Minority Leader Charles] Schumer’s [D-N.Y.] desire for a liberal wish list during this unprecedented crisis.” 

The NRSC did not clarify how much money went behind the ads, but a spokesperson confirmed to The Hill there is enough funding to keep them up for two days in Birmingham and Detroit.

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The announcement of the ads comes a day after the Senate blocked dueling plans to provide additional funds to help small businesses grapple with the burgeoning coronavirus crisis.

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Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (Ky.), tried to pass an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans and grants to small businesses with under 500 employees. Democrats blocked that measure and tried to pass their own plan, which would also include $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments and an expansion of food assistance, as well as the small business funding. 

The fund has been thrust into the spotlight in recent days over warning signs an avalanche of applications from small businesses, contractors and “gig” workers could deplete the money available.

Republicans sought to pass their plan by unanimous consent, a move blocked by Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinMnuchin indicates openness to more PPP loans in next COVID-19 relief bill On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility GOP senator blocks bill giving flexibility to small-business loans but says deal near MORE (D-Md.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocrats introduce bill to rein in Trump’s power under Insurrection Act Democratic senators kneel during moment of silence for George Floyd Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for ‘glorifying violence’ | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues MORE (D-Md.). Neither Jones not Peters actually cast votes for the proposal.

The NRSC ads represent the bind Republicans sought to put Democrats in: support for the GOP plan would have marked a legislative win for the other side, while opposition to it opens up a new line of attack heading into the November elections.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the NRSC’s Democratic counterpart, fired back at the ads as misleading.

“Senate Republicans are trying to hide the fact that they blocked a plan this week to secure $250 billion more for small business assistance, $100 billion more for hospitals and health care provider funding, and $150 billion more for state and local government relief. At a time when Americans desperately need solutions, this is pure politics at its worst,” said DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss.

Jones and Peters are considered by many to be the two most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection this year. Both of their states went for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in 2016, and both Democrats are facing well-funded GOP challengers. 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates Jones’s race as “Lean” Republican and Peters’s race as “Lean” Democrat.

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