Good afternoon and welcome to our Week-End Update.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed legislation providing $484 billion to replenish a small business lending program and support hospitals and COVID-19 testing amid the coronavirus pandemic. I voted to support the additional funding in Washington on Thursday.
This was a critical package as this funding provides direct assistance to countless small businesses who applied, were approved for loans, but could not get assistance because the program’s funding was exhausted.
The measure includes an additional $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion of which is reserved for community banks and small lenders; $75 billion for hospitals; $25 billion to support testing efforts; and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.
As it relates to the CARES ACT, and specifically PPP funding, I want to share a letter I sent to Governor Tom Wolf regarding this program as it relates to unemployment compensation. (Click here to read.) This week, Governor Tom Wolf incorrectly suggested that employees eligible to return for work could remain on unemployment to collect the extra augmented funding made available in the program for those who lose their job through no fault of their own. In reality, the PPP program is meant to help employers and employees until they are able to get back to work. If an employee walks off the job or is offered a job and refuses to go back to work, they are not eligible for the extra unemployment funding. PPP is not designed to serve as a program to keep Americans unemployed.
There have been some plans issued for the reopening of our economy. The President's plan has a 14-day "reducing cases metric" that states should use as a guide as they develop their plans. The President offered macro general guidelines. Rightfully so, it is up to the states to develop a more micro plan that best suits their particular state... very often this should be based upon regions of the state, especially in large states like Pennsylvania where one region may be a hot spot and another region is not. What matters most is safety and business survival.
Picking and choosing what businesses survive or fail is simply a very flawed strategy. Perhaps shutting down everything except essential businesses to keep people confined was what needed to be done to keep people safe. But certainly, at this point, the entirety of a plan should be based upon safe working conditions. Such safe working standards must be uniform. In so-called hot spots, they may need to take additional safety steps (with perhaps even inspections), but any business regardless of what they produce should be able to operate at the very least in a minimal capacity by following such safety standards. They can do so with as many workers working from home as possible and with those on-site maintaining a safe social distancing and cleanliness in the workplace. Regardless of the product or service they provide, people should be allowed to keep their businesses open.
Industries should be brought to the table on how to best accomplish these goals. As an example, the restaurant industry could provide a plan for safe distance outdoor seating as the weather improves. This is the type of creative and inclusionary planning smart states will engage in order to survive without astronomical deficits and bankruptcies. As well, hospitals who are suffering economically should be able to provide a plan for how they can maintain a safe area for treating COVID-19 patients and to begin accepting other patients and elective surgeries.
In the District, our staff and I continued to work with businesses to help resolve issues they are facing during the virus. Many businesses continue to need assistance with getting waivers to open their businesses so they can allow their employees to go back to work in a safe environment. We conducted a zoom call with Pennsy Supply employees to deliver an update on what to expect as the economic relief projects moving forward. With the construction industry reopening on May 1 across Pennsylvania, this is welcome news for Pennsy Supply and other related companies. We continued our weekly conference calls with Pennsylvania Adjutant General Anthony Carrelli, who delivered an update on the many ways our National Guard members are helping support our state during COVID-19. We conducted a zoom conference with Schuylkill Chamber members to discuss the economic recovery and answer questions.
As a member of Congress, I received a briefing on the economy from Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council. We are currently facing challenging times; however, I have faith that we can get our economy moving again as businesses begin to start opening safely.
While we have worked to address specific industries and answer their related questions, we have also continued our outreach through the media and conference calls with the citizens of our District. This week, I conducted interviews regarding COVID-19 with Bob Carl on “Step up the Mic” on WPPA, Sirius XM Patriot’s Wilkow Majority, WFMZ, 105 FM The River and The Frank Andrews Show on WILK-FM (Click here to listen). Additionally, I appeared on Fox & Friends First to talk about COVID-19 and the Pennsylvania economy. Click here or below to watch the interview.
Additionally, I conducted an interview on Fox Business with Stuart Varney on the Pennsylvania shutdown and discussed why President Trump will again win the keystone state. Click here or below to watch my interview.
I also conducted a Q&A with Marisa Schultz of Fox News on the coronavirus and how it has changed our daily lives. Click here to read.
IN NEWS YOU WON'T READ IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: America is winning its war on the Coronavirus.
- President Trump announced another milestone over the weekend: More than 4 million Americans have now been tested. The United States has now conducted more tests than France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, Austria, Australia, Sweden, and Canada—combined.
President Trump’s response is unprecedented for another reason, too—one that most Americans won’t see covered in the news. “Throughout history, national emergencies have led to a more powerful and centralized federal government,” Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow Christopher DeMuth writes in The Wall Street Journal.
Until now.“For the first time in U.S. history, an administration is responding to a crisis with deregulation and decentralization,” he says.
Here’s why.Career politicians, both in Washington and around the world, have one instinct during an emergency: to grab power. It’s rarely temporary, and it often has little to do with the situation at hand. Instead, politicians create more agencies and more red tape, claiming that Bigger Government will prevent the next great threat.
The opposite happens. A slow, bureaucratic response globally made the Coronavirus worse. The World Health Organization, with its $2.4 billion annual budget, didn’t prepare the world for Coronavirus—it downplayed the risk while parroting claims from the Chinese Communist Party that the virus wasn’t spreading between humans.
Elsewhere in the world, countries with government-run socialized medicine have been forced to ration care, often at the expense of older patients.
In the United States, President Trump moved to slash red tape quickly, eliminating outdated rules and bureaucracy around testing, treatments, telemedicine, and more to speed up our nationwide response to his standards.
- President Trump knows that Washington works best when it leads, not controls. His priority is making sure that every state, locality, and frontline worker has the resources needed to fight this virus. Whether it’s securing more ventilators or rapidly expanding testing, he’s brought in the full power of America’s best-on-Earth private sector to help.
These results prove that America is unstoppable when it works together. Nationwide, the latest data suggests that America is past its peak for new cases—and on track to see far fewer deaths than even the most optimistic models once projected.
The President and we know who to thank for winning this war: every single one of you. Our nation’s doctors, nurses, innovators, essential workers, and patriotic citizens are the best in the world.
I want to remind you again that, particularly during these trying times, I, as well as my entire Washington and District teams, are here for you. We are available for any issues you are facing that may require our assistance, we can help make contacts for you and know that the full weight of our office will be applied to help Pennsylvanians get through this crisis.
Please enjoy your weekend. I started the weekend off with my son Danny paying tribute to an American hero, WWII and U.S. Navy veteran Dalton Drake in Shavertown. Due to the virus, large gatherings are not permitted, but veterans and patriotic Americans lined the streets to pay their final respects.
Playing with dogs is definitely good outdoor therapy. I recommend it.
Again, please stay safe and we will see you soon.