WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined Fox News Channel’s Justice with Judge Jeanine to discuss how the CARES Act will help workers and businesses of all sizes stay afloat so people have jobs to return to when the American economy gets back up and running.
Whip Scalise emphasized the need to listen to state and local officials to help flatten the Coronavirus curve so that we can reopen businesses as soon as possible.
On the economic relief included in the CARES Act for families and businesses:
“This bill does a lot for both of those groups of people you talked about. For families, this is something that President Trump talked about, he wanted this bill focused on helping families and on helping businesses stay afloat while we get through this. And so, in the bill you’ve got one section that’s dedicated to getting individual assistance to families, so you’ve got $1,200 per person, $500 per child, there’s some income caps on it but ultimately, for families whether they’re working, even seniors, are eligible for this. The IRS is going to operate the program for people who already filed tax returns; it will automatically come through the IRS. For seniors, it’s going to go through Social Security. Now let’s shift over to the business side, Jeanine, and what you have is ability, the most powerful program is going to be the 7(a) loan program, it’s a forgivable loan, meaning even if you laid off people but if you’ve kept your employees, this will pick up the cost of the payroll for your workers as well as all your fixed costs: your rent, your utilities, those kind of fixed costs for businesses, small and medium sized all the way up to 500 employees will be able to go to your local bank, not through the SBA because we know this is going to be something millions small businesses participate in, so we allowed your local banks to be able to write these loans. So, go talk to your local banker Monday morning if you haven’t already, and there’s going to be a loan that you’ll be able to take out for your payroll costs and for your expenses, your fixed expenses, and that loan will be forgiven at the time that the first payment comes due. That’s going to be critical to keeping a lot of small businesses alive. And then, of course, for large businesses over 500 employees there’s going to be a separate program. You’ve heard a lot about the airlines, they of course will be eligible for this, but any other business over 500 employees will be eligible as well. The goal is to help families get through this, and to make sure we hold on to our businesses so there are jobs to come back to when we get through this crisis.”
“Well the Treasury Department’s going to come up with a form in which Secretary Mnuchin said his office ultimately will administer this through SBA, but he wants a one-page form, something very straightforward. And, by the way ,Jeanine, your local banker is somebody probably who already knows your business well. I mean, that’s why we wanted the community banks to be the ones administering it, because they’ve already got this information on your payroll, on maybe if you have other loans with the bank. That’s going to be the quickest way to do it. We don’t want this to be something that takes months, you don’t have months right now, you might only have days before your next payments are due. We want to make sure nobody’s in default”.
On allowing banks to grant forbearance to help small businesses stay afloat:
“We also included language in this bill to allow the banks to give you forbearance for the next 60 to 90 days. This is something we did after Hurricane Katrina where there was no cash flow for a lot of these businesses and the banks were able to say, ‘Look, we’re going to push your payment’s back 90 days, at the end of the note, so for the next 90 days you don’t have to make your payments so that you can stay afloat.’ The banks don’t want to foreclose on all these businesses, and they don’t have any cash flow. So, all of these things were included in the bill. Again, this is something President Trump was very focused on so that we have an economy to come back to as we get through this crisis.”
On how Americans can help flatten the Coronavirus curve:
“Right now, this bill, there was a lot of work that went into it from everybody. I mean you saw Republicans and Democrats come together. President Trump worked overtime, Secretary Mnuchin was his point person, couldn’t have done a better job at trying to make sure it would work for every level of business and make sure families we’re going to be able to get the money they need to get through this. But this is why people need to be listening to their local leaders; this is a time for everybody to play a role. Staying in your house for the next two weeks would be critical to bringing that curve down, so it doesn’t go on for a long time. We don’t want this to be a months-long thing, it can be weeks if everybody follows those protocols, and if you have to go out in public don’t go fight over the toilet paper. You know, be socially distant from people, wash your hands when you’re around other people, but stay at home as much as you can. People are doing a lot of things at home, like this interview today, a lot of tele-conferences. I know most of the meetings I’ve had with people have been over the telephone, and that’s what people are adjusting to. So, take advantage of that opportunity to let that curve come down so that we can reopen things sooner rather than later.”