Rubio To AOC: ‘Work More, Tweet less’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) traded blows on Twitter with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) over Paycheck Protection Program loans, hitting back on her “Republicanism” criticism and her pompous claim that Black-owned businesses were denied access to such loans amid the coronavirus pandemic, advising the progressive lawmaker that she should “work more” and “tweet less.”

In her tweet that started the back and forth, Ocasio-Cortez quote-tweeted NBC News journalist Olivia Solon, who pointed out in a screenshot that Project Veritas, a non-profit undercover journalism organization received $558,900 in PPP loans, writing “Black-owned small businesses were widely shut out from accessing PPP loans, yet right-wing disinfo org PV took half a million in public money while decrying direct federal assistance as ‘radical socialism.’ Republicanism in a nutshell.”

Rubio hit back at the AOC remarks, saying that Republicans and Democrats worked together to help “save the jobs of 55 million Americans through PPP,” a subliminal jab referencing the fact that the progressive lawmaker was the lone Democrat to voted No on the $2.2 Trillion CARES Act relief bill back in late March that established the $349 billion in loans for small businesses.

“Work more, tweet less & one day you too can make a difference,” Rubio added.

In an interview with ABC Nightline back in May, Ocasio-Cortez defended her no-vote decision, saying the CARES Act wasn’t “structured to solve our biggest problems that we had,” despite the fact her district was among the hardest hit when New York was considered the epicenter of the pandemic.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to Rubio’s “work more” tweet, sharing her recent “recruited” efforts after apparently “investigating” the Treasury Department’s handling of COVID-19 relief funds during a hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“Yesterday I recruited 5,000 volunteers to train and tutor kids in my community who are struggling with remote learning, and that was after investigating the Treasury Secretary’s rationale for stopping CARES Act funding and voting on House legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted back at Rubio.

She added a question asking the Florida lawmaker, “what did you do?”

In another tweet shortly after, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “The thing that these conservative Senators don’t seem to understand is that I’ve actually had a physically difficult working-class job without good healthcare most of my adult life. I bring that work ethic to Congress & to my community. They sit around on leather chairs all day.”

With no retort from Rubio, the progressive congresswoman an hour later tweeted a bogus unfound claim that the GOP “likes to make fun” of her past service work experience of being a bartender.

“Republicans like to make fun of the fact that I used to be a waitress, but we all know if they ever had to do a double they’d be the ones found crying in the walk-in fridge halfway through their first shift bc someone yelled at them for bringing seltzer when they wanted sparkling,” she tweeted.

Rubio clapped back at AOC Friday morning, apologizing for the “late response” that was due to being swamped in helping out his Florida constituents.

“Was busy this week helping a Floridian get travel documents to see his dying sister, a high schooler whose mother died get SSI benefits, a specialist for a child with a crazy Obamacare deductible & negotiating Intelligence bill & another round of PPP,” Rubio tweeted.

Rubio, the chairman of the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee played a huge role in developing the “forgivable loan” program under the CARES Act that helps small businesses keep employees on the payroll and fund typical business costs such as rent and utilities during the coronavirus-related shutdowns. The program became a hit once rolled out in the beginning of April that after two weeks the program stopped accepting applications once funding was tapped out. Congress was able to allocate $319 billion from the passage of additional relief legislation in reviving the PPP program portal to reopen at the end of April.

Recipients of the PPP loans are also eligible to qualify to have these loans forgiveness if borrowers show under “good faith effort” that 60% of the loans were allocated towards payroll costs expenses.

According to data on borrowers and loan amounts released by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) earlier this week, nearly 423,000 Florida businesses used $32 billion in PPP loans authorized under the CARES Act to pay the salaries of 3.3 million Floridian workers between April through November. Florida businesses received 381,455 PPP loans under $150,000 each, totaling around $11 billion, and 41,686 Florida businesses received PPP loans of more than $150,000, totaling $20.7 billion.

“It’s clear that the PPP has been the most successful piece of the bipartisan CARES Act, and it’s great news that so many Florida small businesses were able to take advantage of this historic lifeline to prevent from closing and to keep their employees paid,” Rubio said in a statement to the Miami Herald, adding that Congress should pass more PPP funding before the end of the year.

“It should have happened this summer. It needed to happen this fall. Enough is enough. Let’s get this done,” Rubio added.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion coronavirus relief package that includes $288 billion for another round of PPP funding.

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