Good afternoon and welcome to our Week-End Update.
First of all, Happy Easter and Happy Passover. Despite these difficult times, we have much to be thankful for as we celebrate our faith, family and friends.
These are difficult times and I again want to thank the brave doctors, nurses, first responders and essential workers who are keeping our society moving. I also want to acknowledge and thank the many businesses who are working to produce and contribute masks, visors and other medical equipment that is needed at this time. For example, congratulations to Adelle Schade from Albright College who put together an initiative to develop face shields. They're looking for companies or people with 3D printers to contact them to learn how they can help. Anyone with a 3D printer who is willing to participate is asked to email Schade at email@example.com. Click here to read more.
My team and I were able to help coordinate contributions from a few companies who will distribute almost 10,000 masks over this week and next to area hospitals. There are some great acts of kindness taking place.
Most importantly, Shelley and I want to again offer our prayers to the families of the victims of the coronavirus.
We wanted to help families who need a meal, we sponsored take-out for families at Leggio’s in Dallas. I want to thank Brenda & Alan Pugh, my brother Scott and his wife Susan Meuser and Robert Bresnahan, Jr. for joining Shelley and me in sponsoring dinner. We certainly had a big turnout. I also want to thank Sal & Lori Leggio and the staff and Leggio’s for working all day and into the evening to provide as many meals as possible. Those who are helping to keep us fed during this crisis, from the restaurant employee to the grocery clerk and to all those volunteering and helping at food banks, are playing a significant role in helping us to get through this situation. I would like to give a special shoutout to Jane Clements-Smith and her team with Feeding PA for helping to knock down barriers to ensure those who need food have access. You can read about the great work Jane and Feeding PA are doing in this article. (Pictured below with Sal)
I participated in a member call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force with Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci and Rear Admiral John Polowczyk. President Trump and Vice President Pence are doing an incredible job during this crisis and the team they have assembled is top-notch. While the number of deaths from the coronavirus has continued to rise, we are seeing signs that the curve may be flattening as the number of new cases is leveling off. This is due to folks adhering to social distancing and thanks to those who are only traveling when necessary. We still have to monitor this situation and continue to practice social distancing, but let’s pray that we are on the path to moving past this awful virus.
It is imperative that we work to get our country back to work as soon as it is safe to do so. As President Donald Trump has stated, before this outbreak, we had the greatest economy in American history and we will rebuild it again once the coronavirus is over. That was the subject of my recent op-ed in The Morning Call, "How Congress is paving the way for a great American comeback." Please click here or below to read.
President Trump sharply criticized the inexcusable conduct of the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO is there to provide oversight and work to mitigate health crises, not to paint a fictional picture that somehow they believe is helpful. It was a dereliction of duty and we must demand changes be made at WHO.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered some welcome news this week as over 50,000 U.S. citizens have been safely returned home from more than 90 countries. This worldwide scale of our repatriation efforts is without parallel in our lifetime.
In the District, I have continued to conduct virtual meetings and calls with many individuals regarding the COVID-19 crisis. We spoke with Pennsylvania Adjutant General Anthony Carrelli to discuss COVID-19 across the Commonwealth and he provided an update on National Guard activities and the impacts across PA Veterans’ Homes. I can't express how thankful and proud I am of the work the Pennsylvania National Guard and the important role they play in our Commonwealth. They make our entire District proud. I authored an op-ed that ran in the Lebanon Daily News that expressed my appreciation for all of the work they do to protect our Commonwealth. Click here or below to read.
We conducted a call with the Pennsylvania Manufactured Housing Association and affected members about how they have assisted in the COVID-19 response by providing FEMA with mobile homes/trailers. These are Pennsylvania businesses that are assisting in this crisis and they are ready to go back to work.
We held a teleconference with community bankers helping them best ready themselves for the huge number of small business loan applications they are receiving. This program is extremely important and is working out the glitches. The SBA attended the calls and are making themselves very accessible and helpful. We have to keep in mind something, not only is this a new program, but the SBA and the lender banks are endeavoring to put out 10 years of loans in a two week period. Additionally, we do expect to increase the level of funding for these SBA loans this coming week so all small business applications get fulfilled. It would be helpful if small businesses and their employees contact Democrat members of the House and tell them to pass a supplemental increase to fulfill the Paycheck Protection Plan without adding in things that have little to nothing to do with this specific need (which they are attempting to do). The bill is going to get passed, but these antics could cause a dangerous delay. Any businesses having problems by the middle of next week should contact my team and me and we will provide assistance.
We spoke with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Small Business Jovita Carranza regarding the agriculture industry, particularly dairy, and the issues they are facing. We are holding a tele-townhall with the dairy industry next week.
We have been working all week on the FED Mainstreet plan, which will be designed to help businesses above 500 employees with low-interest loans. We have about 60 such employers in and around our District, many of which are manufactures. Each is a major employer in the District and we will continue working on a plan that serves them through this crisis.
We also continue to spend much time on helping businesses abide by Governor Wolf's requirements for staying open. We cannot let our job creators shut down. We have passed federal legislation, the Paycheck Protection Program loan, to provide the cash flow so businesses can retain the majority of their employees. They need to be able to stay open, with skeleton crews, people working at home and abiding by a strict safety code... but we must give them the tools to survive. I will continue to do all possible to advocate for smart, safe, operating businesses.
This week, we continue to conduct many interviews and communicate information via our website and social media channels. I conducted interviews on Newsmax TV and the Frank Andrews Show on WILK regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. You can listen to my interview by clicking on the link above or the image below.
As we look ahead to November, there was big news this week in the 2020 presidential race as Senator Bernie Sanders officially ended his bid for the Democratic nomination. That sets the presidential match-up for November. President Trump will be facing former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is attempting to keep an image of appearing moderate while adopting 90% of Bernie Sanders's far-left policies, including a ban on natural gas. Joe Biden's efforts to win over Bernie supporters are in high gear as he made it clear he supports a ban on fracking and would kill our nation’s natural gas industry. The natural gas industry currently supports and contributes:
- 10 million American jobs
- $714 billion in labor income
- $1 trillion to our nation’s GDP
In Pennsylvania, we have a responsible natural gas industry and have benefited greatly from the jobs, energy, and income it has created. Natural gas has made Pennsylvania one of the most improved states from an environmental standpoint reducing our carbon emissions significantly over the last several years. Joe Biden wants to put an end to that… full stop. That is a dangerous policy that will cost us jobs, tax revenue and make our nation less energy independent and more reliant on the Middle East. For this reason and many more, I believe Pennsylvania is going to re-elect President Trump. Click here to read an article on the topic in The Hill.
My family, like many others, is observing Easter this weekend. This is a time of rebirth and renewal spiritually and as we enjoy spring. Our nation, in many ways, is undertaking the same journey as we work our way back from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Shelley and I, my daughters Caroline and Jacqueline, and my son Daniel, who have all been home with us for the last month, hope you and your families have a safe, healthy and happy Easter weekend. See you soon.