Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the leader of House Republicans from California, sent a letter last week letter to 23 Democrat members of the House of Representatives urging them to keep their word. The letter comes after those same moderate Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi saying,
“It is our request that you continue to negotiate towards a bipartisan deal. Otherwise, a discharge petition is the only potential option for COVID-19 related action on the House Floor.”
As things stand right, not the only roadblock to bipartisan coronavirus relief is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has refused to allow a deal. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler has put forward a Paycheck Protection Program discharge petition to get Americans the relief they need. A discharge petition is a tool available to the minority party to bring legislation to the floor and force a vote. Nearly every Republican in the US House has signed the petition. To succeed, the requires the signatures of 218 members, which would be a majority of the House. Pelosi has so far forbidden Democrats to support the measure.
The Paycheck Protection Program was part of the CARES act that was created in March. Estimates show that it saved approximately 51 million jobs. The proposal by Rep. Herrera Beutler would reopen the PPP program, where 138 billion dollars has been sitting dormant since August when the program closed. Leader McCarthy’s letter from Friday called on the moderate democrats who signed the letter to Pelosi to sign the discharge petition, thereby keeping true to their word and helping countless struggling Americans.
Neither Representative Finkenauer nor Axne has signed on to support reopening the PPP program proposed in the petition mentioned.
McCarthy’s full letter to the Democrats is below:
On September 27, nearly two months ago, you signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating: “It is our request that you continue to negotiate towards a bipartisan deal. Otherwise, a discharge petition is the only potential option for COVID-19 related action on the House Floor…”
As we know, no bipartisan deal has yet been reached. Perhaps more discouraging is that after Speaker Pelosi failed to secure a deal before recessing the House ahead of the election, you did not live up to your word to sign Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) discharge petition. This legislation would free up $137.5 billion of unspent PPP funds. It would allow small businesses to take a second PPP loan and extends the PPP deadline until December 31, 2020.
The economic conditions for small businesses were dire back in September. Today, with more economic-lockdowns being imposed, they are fatal.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that hundreds of companies that received Paycheck Protection Program loans have filed for bankruptcy, citing the lack of additional loans as the pandemic wears on.
But the number of businesses in America going under is much higher. The Washington Post reported that nearly 100,000 businesses nationwide have already shut their doors permanently.
With renewed economic lockdown, brave small business owners and their workers are forced to do the impossible: stay alive through government-imposed lockdowns without any help from the government that imposes them.
Speaker Pelosi’s approach that “nothing” is better than “something” is wrong, and the American people have paid the price. We must get relief that is ready to go to those who need it most. Our neighbors are counting on you to keep to your word and sign the discharge petition. We can get this done today and save countless small businesses from going bankrupt.