Lucas Signs Discharge Petition to Revive Paycheck Protection Program

Mike Seals - September 27, 2020 11:18 pm

Washington, D.C. – Friday, September 25th, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Steve Chabot (OH-01) in signing Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s (WA-03) discharge petition in the U.S. House of Representatives to force a vote to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a lifeline for small businesses in Oklahoma’s Third District and across the country.

“Across Oklahoma, small businesses are on the brink of closure. Through no fault of their own, Main Street businesses throughout the Third District have had to scale back business hours and lay off dedicated employees just to stay afloat during the pandemic,” said Congressman Lucas“One critical program that has helped more than 66,000 Oklahoma small businesses is the Paycheck Protection Program. Sadly, last month, this vital program expired with $135 billion left unspent, leaving many small businesses without a lifeline to weather the pandemic’s economic conditions. While Speaker Pelosi has failed to address this lapse and has called targeted legislation on unemployment benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program ‘piecemeal’, my House Republican colleagues and I are working to force a vote to bring this common-sense legislation up on the House Floor. I thank my colleague, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, for leading this discharge petition to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, and I hope this bill can see a vote on the House Floor so that Oklahoman businesses and employees can continue to receive the help they need.”

The discharge petition, should it garner the required 218 signatures from the U.S. House of Representatives, will then allow the House to bring to the floor a bill, authored by House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01), to distribute the remaining nearly $135 billion in current PPP funds sitting idle after the program’s August 8 expiration. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rejected calls for passing a temporary extension of unemployment benefits and other relief programs separate from a larger coronavirus relief package.

“This public health crisis has left our small businesses near permanent closure, and that will happen on a massive scale if Congress doesn’t act. Yet Congress isn’t acting, so I’ve filed the discharge petition in the House today so we can bypass the political posturing and bring relief to our nation’s small businesses and their employees. Other relief remains vital, but we either save jobs and businesses now or provide triage soon for the damage caused by empty buildings, lost livelihoods and health care plans, and fewer employment opportunities overall. Reviving the PPP has to be our priority,” Herrera Beutler said.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has served as a critical lifeline for America’s small businesses. Since its launch, the program is credited with saving 51 million jobs nationwide. But our work in helping small business owners stay open and keep employees on payroll is not done. A recent report indicates that as many as 36 percent small businesses say if no new funding comes from Congress soon, they will be forced to lay off workers or cut back hours. Democrats have consistently blocked or delayed relief, but Republicans are not giving up. That is why House Republicans, led by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler have filed a discharge petition to force a vote on a stand-alone extension of the Paycheck Protection Program through the end of the year. It only needs 218 signatures to force a vote, so I hope that our Democrat colleagues will join us in delivering relief. My Republican colleagues and I will continue to act on our Commitment to America; we will be relentless in our fight to protect jobs, small businesses, and the American dream,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.

“Since March, small businesses—corner stores, retail shops, and family restaurants—have been struggling to survive. Congress worked in a bipartisan manner to pass the CARES Act, which delivered rapid assistance to small firms through programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. Unfortunately, in recent months, additional relief for small businesses has been caught up in the partisan logjam and the livelihoods of real people hang in the balance. Congress must work together to get help to small businesses in Washington, Ohio, and across our great nation. Rep. Herrera Beutler’s discharge petition to force a vote on my legislation is the way to do just that. I thank her for her leadership on behalf of America’s small businesses,” House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) said.

Multiple news outlets, including Roll Call and The Hill, are reporting that several House Democrats are “strongly considering” bucking their party to sign Herrera Beutler’s discharge petition.

As of last Thursday (25 Sept.), Politico is reporting that House Democrats are pressuring Democratic Leadership to work on a bipartisan COVID relief, citing Herrera Beutler’s discharge petition as the motivating factor.

 

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