Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats leave town, fail the American people

Wheels up, off to California after adjourning the House until after Election Day. It’s a shameful display of partisanship in the wake of our recovery from the coronavirus. Rather than help small businesses continue to access unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP lawmaker calls on Pelosi to apologize for response to Trump contracting coronavirus Pelosi: ‘We’re making progress’ on coronavirus relief bill What President Trump’s positive COVID test could mean for the markets MORE (D-Calif.) is willing to block reasonable relief efforts, all in the name of politics. She doesn’t want to risk President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE and congressional Republicans getting an ounce of credit in the final weeks of this election.

Some things are simply more important than political posturing, like ensuring American small businesses can weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic. We have unspent funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, a COVID relief program that saved 51 million jobs in the United States, 2 million in Ohio alone. Its authorization is expiring, meaning the program is closing up shop, despite $138 billion left in the coffers. My Ohio colleague, Rep Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotKate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House Centrist Democrats ‘strongly considering’ discharge petition on GOP PPP bill Lawmakers call for expanded AI role in education, business to remain competitive MORE, has a simple, straightforward bill that reauthorizes the unspent funds through the end of the year, expands the eligible entities and expenses, and further protects the program so that businesses with fewer than 300 employees can get to the front of the line.

We are on the right path toward economic recovery, with more than 10 million jobs created or brought back after the worst of the pandemic. But as states re-open at different paces, we still have businesses struggling to adjust and keep their doors open. Mom and pop stores, those with just a handful of employees are bearing the brunt of the economic damage. That’s why this PPP extension bill earmarks $25 billion for businesses with 10 or fewer employees and, if a business receives a second PPP loan, this bill ensures the total of those two loans cannot exceed $10 million.

Those businesses with just a few employees can make up a large number of loans in the program, but those loans will often be some of the smallest approved by the Small Business Administration. They are businesses that would struggle with the compliance and paperwork costs associated with byzantine processes mandated by federal regulators. This bill eliminates this problem: a simple form attesting that the business complied with the loan requirements is all that will be needed. It also requires them to keep records related to the loan on hand for three years in the case of an audit by the Small Business Administration.

A truly important aspect of this bill is transparency: The American people are sick and tired of the Washington insiders getting rich with inside information or by using taxpayer dollars as leverage. The people writing and enforcing the laws need to play by the same rules as those being governed, including their family members. This bill mandates the disclosure of a PPP loan made to the president, the vice president, members of the Cabinet, and members of Congress, as well as spouses and children.

These are commonsense proposals in legislation that has already been approved on a bipartisan basis earlier this year. Speaker Pelosi has held this bill hostage for nearly two months in an effort to extract as much of the Democrats’ socialist agenda in any future relief packages. It is unconscionable that Congress’ failure to act will result in even more hardships for Main Street businesses in our towns and cities.

I signed the discharge petition which, if having received enough signatures from congressional representatives, would force the bill to the House floor for a vote. Right now, there aren’t enough Republicans in the House for that to happen. It’s either going to take a bipartisan effort to force Speaker Pelosi’s hand or a change in the House leadership this November, which doesn’t help small businesses now. We have been willing to work across the aisle these last six months, and the relief packages previously passed prove that. We can do it one more time to extend relief we have already passed, if only Speaker Pelosi can set aside the desire to politically inure President Trump and Republicans before Nov. 3.

Gibbs represents the 7th District of Ohio.

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