While Families and Small Businesses Suffer, Speaker Pelosi Prioritizes Legalizing Marijuana and "Tiger King"
As 2020 comes to a close, America faces mounting economic and public health challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, and Congress faces year-end deadlines on a host of issues. Instead of addressing these pressing matters, Speaker Pelosi has scheduled votes on bills to legalize marijuana nationwide and ban tiger ownership.
"This is a matter of priorities. At a time when millions of American families and small businesses are struggling, hospitals are being stretched thin, and overdose deaths are skyrocketing, Speaker Pelosi is putting marijuana and tigers first," said McKinley. "This shows a shocking lack of awareness. Is she that tone deaf?"
"There is nearly $140 billion in unused money sitting in an account that could help small businesses across the country stay afloat," said McKinley."Wouldn't it make sense to simply unlock that money and put it to use? Instead the House is focused on issues that are far from the mind of most Americans."
"For months, Speaker Pelosi has repeatedly put her partisan agenda ahead of immediate targeted relief that would help so many Americans," said McKinley. "All or nothing is not an acceptable approach. Too many Americans are counting on us for help. Rather than wasting the House's time on marijuana and exotic animals, we should be focused on finding common ground for a solution."
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has provided support to small businesses across America, supporting over 51 million jobs during the pandemic. Currently, over $130 billion of unused PPP funds have been siting idle after the program's August 8th expiration. Yet, Speaker Pelosi continues to stall on bringing forth a bill that would extend relief to small businesses struggling because of the economic impact of COVID19.
In September, Rep. McKinley signed a discharge petition to force a vote by the U.S. House to extend the PPP. According to U.S. House rules, should the discharge petition garner 218 signatures from Representatives, the House will then be compelled to bring to the floor legislation (H.R. 8265), to distribute the remaining unused PPP funds. The bill permits businesses to apply for second loans and expands PPP eligibility.
As of August 8th, the Paycheck Protection Program was utilized by 18,062 West Virginia small businesses, totaling to $1,802,521,277 in loans, and saving over 200,000 jobs.