GOP ads hit vulnerable Senate Democrats over small business funding

GOP ads hit vulnerable Senate Democrats over small business funding
© Greg Nash

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 PetersHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased New Senate bill would take steps to protect AI-collected data Sinema fundraising in Europe as reconciliation talks 'ongoing': report 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.

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.

Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats 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 CardinIt's time to make access to quality kidney care accessible and equitable for all Charity game lets users bet on elections Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program MORE (D-Md.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDozens of Democrats call for spending bill to pass 'climate test' GOP tries to take filibuster pressure off Manchin, Sinema Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden set to restore national monuments rolled back by Trump 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.

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"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 TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift 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.