Sen. Ben Cardin Tuesday called for a negotiated bipartisan agreement for the fourth phase of coronavirus relief legislation, commenting that the issue with the recently passed bill to add money to the Paycheck Protection Program was that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had attempted to present legislation without any negotiation.
"I am for a bipartisan process of negotiation," the Maryland Democrat said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," pointing out that when the Senate passed the $2 trillion CARES Act with a 96-0 vote, it came after both parties hammered out an agreement.
It will be vital, in the next bill, to offer help for state and local governments that have had huge losses in revenue because of the shutdowns and stay-at-home orders put in place to control the spread of COVID-19, Cardin added.
Republicans have been calling for a payroll tax cut, which President Donald Trump supports, but Cardin said he believes lawmakers must be effective, no matter what they do.
"We have to make sure state and local governments can continue services, and the police and fire (departments) and be able to deal with those essential services," said Cardin. "We need to make sure that small businesses remain viable, we need to take a look at that. We've already provided significant help to the individuals, paid through the IRS checks that are being mailed out and unemployment insurance. We need to look at all three categories."
Meanwhile, there are still critical questions remaining about how large businesses were able to get millions of dollars in loans through the first PPP phase, while smaller businesses were not, said Cardin.
"I've been in touch with Sen. (Marco) Rubio, and we will find out how this money was distributed and who got it and whether they deserve it," said Cardin. "Let's make sure we get it to the small businesses that really need it, that has significant revenue losses. We did that by sending a $350 billion. But we have to get the facts first."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.