When the pandemic first hit in March, Republicans and Democrats joined together to pass the CARES Act to get critical assistance out to American families, hospitals, and small businesses fighting to survive the pandemic.
A lot has changed since then. We’re encountering more and more cases in rural Missouri and increased hospitalizations. Even though we aren’t under a stay at home order, businesses are feeling the effects as folks choose to stay home and cut back. Many businesses that typically see an uptick in income around the holidays aren’t seeing the number of customers they usually see. Small mom and pop shops are struggling to keep up as more people avoid going out and order what they need online from major retailers instead.
Part of the Cares Act was the Paycheck Protection Program, an effort to provide small businesses the capital needed to keep workers on payroll despite disruptions caused by the pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program expired back in August and while I’ve tried repeatedly to get it reauthorized, Speaker Pelosi has blocked reauthorization of the program more than 40 times, insisting that her own list of pet projects be attached to any COVID-19 relief legislation for American families, workers, small businesses, and hospitals. While we’re just trying to keep small businesses open and rural hospitals operating when they’re needed most, she’s demanding stimulus checks for illegal immigrants and massive bailouts for states that have failed to properly manage their budgets for decades.
To make matters worse, while Congress is back in session this week, Speaker Pelosi has chosen to focus on banning pet tigers and legalizing weed. There’s simply no excuse for the continued delay of much-needed aid for American small businesses. We just can’t afford for this to keep happening. We can’t let petty politics destroy our economy and our country. We can’t let political games destroy peoples’ livelihoods.
We can and we should help our small businesses and workers. It’s not complicated. There’s still more than $130 billion left in the Paycheck Protection Program awaiting Congress to just say yes. Enough is enough. We need to get the Paycheck Protection Program back up and running. We need to focus on what’s actually important. This can’t wait any longer.