Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), during House Floor debate on the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, urged his colleagues to send urgently-needed federal aid to state and local governments on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyer, a formal small business owner, serves as Vice Chair and top Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee, which advises Congress on economic policy. The Committee recently released an economic report entitled “Massive Aid to State and Local Governments Needed to Slow Economic Damage.”
Beyer’s remarks as delivered:
“Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation to protect jobs, support small businesses, and save lives.
It’s good that we agree on this funding, but Americans need more – much more.
As of this morning over 26 million have lost their jobs, in some states as much as one third of the workforce.
Workers need our help in a way that does not stop or expire.
Congress will have to do more to save small businesses, both in funding and making changes and exercising oversight to ensure it goes to small businesses.
State and local governments desperately need our help.
The idea that we would tell states and localities to bear the brunt and then let them go bankrupt and lay off medical workers, police, firefighters, and teachers is despicable and we must reject it.
Letting state and local governments founder would dangerously weaken the response ahead of the virus’ expected second wave.
The American people need and deserve to be able to participate in their democracy safely, without having to risk their lives, and Congress should support state efforts to set up voting by mail.
Postal workers are risking their lives every day to deliver our mail. They deserve our support – the federal government needs to prevent their agency from going bankrupt.
Only Congress can achieve these things, and we cannot delay. The need is urgent, and the American people are depending on us.”