The Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) was an element of federal coronavirus relief legislation designed to help small business owners and nonprofits that met very specific criteria meet their payrolls and stay afloat during the shutdown.
Republicans, backed by the Trump administration, are now demanding that Planned Parenthood, which applied for and received $80 million in stimulus loans, return those funds — but Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his fellow Democrats argue that the abortion provider should be allowed to keep them, according to The Hill.
GOP: Return money now
The problem that Republicans traditionally have with Planned Parenthood receiving taxpayer money is that the organization, although it is considered a nonprofit, is a highly politicized provider of abortions.
In this case, however, Republicans are taking the stance that Planned Parenthood was not in fact eligible for the coronavirus relief loans simply due to the size of the organization.
A group of GOP lawmakers recently wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr on this matter, writing, according to The Hill: “We write to urge you to investigate the activities of dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates that reportedly applied for and received approximately $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, despite actual knowledge that they were ineligible for such loans.
“It was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” the legislators added.
The Small Business Association (SBA) has also reportedly sent letters to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates that received funding demanding the money be returned.
Battle over funds escalates
While Republicans and the SBA say the money should be returned, Democrats believe the abortion clinics should be able to keep the money.
The effort to get the SBA and Republicans to back off is being led by Sen. Schumer, who recently penned his own letter in conjunction with other Senate Democrats requesting that both the SBA and Republicans stand down.
To the SBA:
In the CARES Act, the PPP program ensured nonprofits that meet the qualifications would be eligible for help.
You need to stop the ideologically-driven action against Planned Parenthood’s local health centers to score political points for the Trump admin. pic.twitter.com/rv8Cxkwl8T
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 23, 2020
Planned Parenthood, for its part, has also struck back, blaming the backlash on a political attack by the Trump administration, according to The Hill.
This clash could be headed to the courts very soon, as neither side appears willing to budge.