WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) took to the House Floor ahead of today’s vote on the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to urge swift passage of the bill, as American small businesses have gone without access to emergency loans for over a week since Democrats blocked additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Whip Scalise detailed stories he’s heard from hundreds of small businesses barely holding on and blasted Democrats for treating these businesses and American workers as “leverage” toward achieving liberal wish-list policy goals.
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“Most importantly, I want to thank all of those hardworking families across this country — people who are struggling through this crisis, who are adhering to the guidance from the President and their governors, but want to get back to work. They want us to work together to help them through this critical time, to focus on finding a cure as we’re seeing so many advances in medicine, on testing, and on therapies that may work.
“But in the meantime, we are all learning how to deal with this disease better, how to socially distance. Even if you go to the grocery store now, people are being more cautious, but we also need to make sure that we help those families hold on through this time, that we help those small businesses who are struggling through this time.
“The Paycheck Protection Program has been incredibly successful as a lifeline to those small businesses. President Trump called on us weeks ago to come and replenish this fund that’s been used by so many businesses to hang on. And yet there were cries from the other side. In fact, one of the leaders of the main caucus on the opposition side called the Paycheck Protection Program ‘leverage’ that they should hold out from re-funding to get other things. This isn’t about ‘leveraging’ families who are struggling and hanging on and businesses who barely can make it while you try to go for other items. Help those people who are in need, negotiate on other things that we can get agreement on, but don’t hold hostages during this time.
“I reached out to so many small businesses and heard from people in my district and all around this country. We saw another 4.5 million people lose their jobs just this week and yet there were businesses holding on, waiting for this money, that didn’t get it for the last two weeks while this ‘leverage’ game was played. I just talked to one company, Delta Electronics in Harvey, Louisiana: ‘We laid off two of our three employees. We’re about seven days away from shutting our doors down for good and possibly declaring bankruptcy. We don’t know what else to do. I’m tired of crying myself to sleep every night wondering what tomorrow holds. Will we lose everything we’ve worked for? Our house? Our retirement? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.’
“They had to wait an extra two weeks — hopefully, that company can hold on. MJ’s Grill in Columbia, South Carolina: ‘We are a small, family-run business that has a staff of sixteen. We have had to cut our staffing down to eight and those employees work limited hours. I open and close the kitchen every day without taking a paycheck to try and keep the doors open. We are quickly approaching the hard-line decision of closing our doors permanently.’
“These are stories that go on and on, heart-breaking stories from businesses that just want to hold on to keep their family business going, to keep those employees that represent millions of people — stop thinking of them as ‘leverage’ and start thinking of them as our neighbors, just like we applaud our front-line workers, the men and women in the hospitals, the nurses, the doctors who are keeping us safe. Let’s work to keep everyone safe and get through this and open our economy back again. Let’s pass this bill.”