WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following remarks in support of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Madame Speaker.
“The coronavirus launched an unprecedented attack on America’s health and the best economy our nation had experienced in decades.
“America responded with an unprecedented effort to contain the virus, led by President Trump and the health care community. Congress responded by working with the President to deliver not one, not two, but three bipartisan measures to combat the health and economic damage of COVID-19.
“The battle continues amid signs that in some regions we are flattening the curve and beginning to reopen the economy safely, as health conditions on the ground permit.
“This fourth bill replenishes crucial help for Main Street businesses and local health care providers while devoting more resources to producing more tests and distributing them more quickly.
“It adds $320 billion in crucial funding to the Paycheck Protection Program to help keep our local businesses afloat.
“It boosts funding for local health care providers by another $75 billion.
“It expands our states’ testing capacities.
“And it ensures more resources for our nationwide effort to continue locking down this virus.
“It is targeted. It will have an immediate impact. And it deserves strong, bipartisan support.
“Once President Trump signed the CARES Act into law merely four weeks ago — then moved with historic speed to provide forgivable loans to small businesses – it soon became clear more dollars are needed to keep workers on local payrolls.
“So far, the Paycheck Protection Program is helping nearly 1.6 million local businesses, impacting 30 million jobs for local construction, retail, manufacturing, health care, hospitality, and service businesses.
“Despite media portrayals, the average loan is around $200,000 – that’s Main Street – and more often than not provided by a community bank.
“These dollars are reaching small businesses. And when funding ran out, Republicans and President Trump urged Congress to quickly replenish them.
“It’s unfortunate that Speaker Pelosi decided to hold up this bill more than a week while small businesses and their workers desperately fought to hold on, especially minority-owned businesses in underserved communities. They suffered, and during this unnecessary delay America’s jobless numbers climbed to over 16 million.
“How many jobs could we have saved if partisan politics had not reared its ugly head?
“This emergency funding is just that, funding. It doesn’t adjust the design of the Paycheck Protection Program nor does it address the flawed unemployment design that pays some Americans more than they make at work. It takes what is working for businesses and health care providers and replenishes it.
“Which is why it has earned the support of a number of organizations, like the American Hospital Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
“Today’s bill makes it possible for families to stay connected to their work. Local businesses can keep their lights on. And once we get to the other end of this, we will return to a safe, healthy America for our seniors, children, and grandchildren.
“I’ll conclude with this.
“The President is right.
“We can continue to apply maximum pressure on the coronavirus while reopening our economy safely and responsibly. Not only can we—we must, if we hope to prevent hurting working families and the jobless with an unnecessarily extended economic recession marked by shortages of needed day-to-day supplies and serious health care problems created by long-term unemployment.
“This isn’t a choice between lives and livelihoods. We must do both. With the President, state and local leaders, health care providers, and local businesses all working together I’m convinced we can.
“How? The way we tackle every adversity our nation faced: with American ingenuity, know-how, and common sense.
“Today, we help our small businesses and health care heroes. Tomorrow, Congress and President Trump will continue to work together to identify practical ways to help businesses create safe, healthy workplaces, jumpstart this rebound, and accelerate a return to work for those who are jobless or furloughed.
“I urge all my colleagues to support it.
“Thank you, Madame Speaker.”
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