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Palmer, Byrne criticize Pelosi for playing politics with Paycheck Protection Program

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, the Treasury Department reported that the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has now run out of money and no more loans are available for small businesses struggling to pay their bills to get through the forced economic shutdown to fight the coronavirus global pandemic. Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, released a statement condemning Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Democrats in Congress for blocking each attempt to provide additional funding for the SBA. Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, urged that Congressional leadership aid the struggling American small businesses and their employees.

“The Trump Administration has asked for an additional $250 billion to help save these small businesses. It’s disgraceful that Pelosi is blocking the legislation simply to advance her political agenda,” Rep. Palmer said. “She shows how completely out of touch she is by staying safe in her plush kitchen, eating ice cream that is $12 per pint, while millions of Americans line up at food banks to put basic food on their tables.”

“I ask Congressional leadership to put politics aside and act immediately to resupply the PPP program.,” Rep. Byrne said. “If further funds are needed for other parts of the CARES Act down the road, then we should address those at that time.”

Palmer called on Pelosi to call the House of Representatives back to address the small business crisis.

“It is time for Congress to go back Washington and do what is necessary to get the country back to work,” Palmer said. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing a great disservice to Americans by refusing to reconvene Congress.”

“Millions of small business owners are days away from insolvency,” Byrne said. “Just a brief lapse in PPP funding could mean thousands of small businesses closing their doors forever, employees losing their jobs and livelihoods, and communities dealt a hammer blow as they cope with a challenge unprecedented in the history of our nation. I am appalled that anyone would block a program they overwhelmingly support, throwing countless families in disarray, to extract concessions that can be addressed in bills to come. I ask Congressional leadership to put politics aside and act immediately to resupply the PPP program. If further funds are needed for other parts of the CARES Act down the road, then we should address those at that time.”

“People expect Congress to act to reopen our country so that they can go back to work to care for their families and save their businesses,” Palmer stated. “And they should demand it. All across America, health care workers and first responders are courageously doing their jobs. Members of Congress should be doing the same. The country expects us to lead, and it is time for us to get back to Washington.”

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The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, urged Congress to fund the PPP.

“America’s small businesses are on the brink, trying desperately to keep their doors open and support their employees,” said NFIB President Brad Close. “They have been let down by lawmakers and the bureaucracy with the smallest businesses most disadvantaged in attempting to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. We’ve been hearing from our members, every day, worried the $349 billion lending program would run dry before help gets to them. Today, their worries became a reality.”

“A lot of Alabama businesses have closed temporarily because of the coronavirus, and a lot of them might not be able to reopen without additional federal paycheck protection,’ said Alabama NFIB state Director Rosemary Elebash. “We encourage everyone to contact their members of Congress and tell them to act now.”

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This week, NFIB has penned letters to congressional leaders, urging them to immediately provide further appropriations to the PPP, and to the Small Business Administration, strongly encouraging them to address significant funding and communication issues related to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also sent a letter to Congress urging that they replenish the PPP.

“Today’s tragic and staggering unemployment figures underscores the dire need for bridge funding to keep more Americans on the job and more businesses afloat during the coronavirus economic crisis,” said Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley. “There is absolutely no excuse for failing to get these funds approved immediately. American small businesses, self-employed workers, and independent contractors need and expect the type of bipartisan cooperation that led to the CARES Act to solve this immediate crisis.”

“There are small businesses all over the nation that will never re-open, and others are barely hanging on, hoping and praying that they will be able to reopen soon,” Palmer said. “Many of these businesses were still in the process of receiving or applying for a loan to save their employees and businesses, but now they can’t because the Paycheck Protection Program is out of money.”

“We urge congressional leaders to prioritize America’s small businesses above their political disagreements and immediately provide additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program,” Close concluded.

The PPP was enacted as part of the CARES Act, HR6481, to help save jobs and support small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks. More Americans are now unemployed than in the lowest depths of the 2008 t0 2009 Great Recession. If the PPP does not receive further funds that will only grow the ranks of the unemployed.

To date 677,570 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 34,617 Americans have already died; while 57,508 have fully recovered and been cleared by their doctors.


Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.

 

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Sewell votes to keep government open, extend programs

Brandon Moseley

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Congresswoman Terri Sewell (VIA CSPAN)

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, this week voted for a measure to continue funding for the programs contained in the 12 annual appropriation acts for FY2020. The bill, HR8337, passed the House in a final vote of 359 to 57 and 1.

“I voted for today’s legislation to avert a catastrophic government shutdown and fund the critical programs that my constituents depend on,” Sewell said.

“At a time when our country is in the middle of a pandemic and millions of Americans are losing their homes and livelihoods to natural disasters, including hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, our government needs to be fully funded and operational so that the American people can get the resources they need,” Sewell said. “I am particularly proud of the provisions Democrats secured to save our seniors from a Medicare Part B premium hike, protect health, housing, and other programs for Veterans, and to provide repayment relief for our health care providers at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The resolution provides funding for critical government programs through Dec. 11 and extends vital health, surface transportation and veterans’ programs.

“While I’m disappointed that Senate Republicans and White House didn’t come to the table to agree to pass the long-term FY2021 funding bills that the House passed earlier this year, I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure a long-term funding bill is passed before this CR expires in December,” Sewell said. “Additionally, an agreement on further Coronavirus relief legislation is desperately needed. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and as the pandemic continues, municipalities, health care providers, essential workers, and small businesses are running out of resources from the CARES Act and relief is needed now.”

HR8337 included a list of programs that Sewell worked directly with House appropriators to secure in the FY2020 funding bill, which are extended in Tuesday’s continuing resolution. These include:

  • Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Loans
  • Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) program
  • Commodity Supplemental Food program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program
  • 2020 Decennial Census Program
  • Community Health Centers
  • Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program
  • Special Diabetes Program
  • Grants for transportation to VA medical facilities for Veterans living in “highly rural” areas
  • Childcare assistance for Veterans while they receive health care at a VA facility
  • An initiative to assess the feasibility of paying for veterans in highly rural areas to travel to the nearest Vet Center, a community-based facility that provides readjustment counseling and other services

The bill also funded the Department of Labor’s homeless veteran reintegration programs, such as job training, counseling and placement services.

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Additionally, the legislation:

  • Ensures USDA can fully meet the demand for Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership loans, especially for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers
  • Allows increased flexibility for the Small Business Administration to process certain small business loans and SBA Disaster Loans
  • Provides a one-year extension for surface transportation programs, including federal highway, transit, and road safety programs
  • Reauthorizes the Appalachian Regional Commission for one year
  • Delays a scheduled $4 billion reduction in funding for disproportionate share hospital (DSH), which are hospitals that serve large numbers of low-income and uninsured patients
  • Protects Medicare beneficiaries from the expected increase in Part B premiums for 2021 that is likely to result from the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Provides repayment relief to health care providers by extending the time in which they must repay advances and reducing the interest rate under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment program until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Allows Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use the full amount available in the Disaster Relief Fund to respond to declared disasters
  • Increases accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for large oil companies
  • Ensures schoolchildren receive meals despite the pandemic’s disruption of their usual schedules, whether virtual or in-person, and expands Pandemic EBT access for young children in childcare

It has been 20 years since Congress has passed a balanced budget.

Sewell is running for her sixth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. Sewell has no Republican opponent in the Nov. 3 General Election.

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Resources are available to persons damaged by Hurricane Sally, Roby says

Brandon Moseley

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A satellite image of Hurricane Sally. (VIA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE)

Hurricane Sally struck on the Alabama Gulf Coast as a category two hurricane on Sept. 16, but authorities, property owners and farmers are still assessing the damage.

“As Hurricane Sally moved through Alabama last week, I remained in close communication with Governor Ivey’s office regarding recovery efforts, and she ensured us that the appropriate state agency resources will be available to our counties and municipalities in the Second District,” said Congresswoman Martha Roby. “My team also stayed in contact with leaders and elected officials across the district to communicate with them our readiness to assist.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with those throughout our state who have been affected by this powerful storm,” Roby added. “Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of my offices if you or someone you know needs assistance.”

“The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries launched a survey to gather information from farmers and producers who experienced agricultural damages due to Hurricane Sally,” Roby said.

Separately, the Alabama Farmers Federation is also collecting information from affected farmers. For more information on disaster assistance, visit this website.

Prior to and after Sally hit our state, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has been hard at work to assist Alabama farmers and consumers. The department is gathering information from farmers who experienced agricultural damage from the excessive winds, rainfall and flooding caused by Hurricane Sally.

This information can be helpful to federal and state leaders in the aftermath of the storm.

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To collect the most accurate damage assessments, the department has established an online reporting survey to simplify the process for producers who have experienced agricultural damage. Producers should visit agi.alabama.gov/HurricaneSally to complete the survey.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who experienced significant damage during this powerful hurricane,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate. “Alabama farmers have already faced economic hardships this year due to market instability, trade concerns and the coronavirus pandemic.”

Many farmers had a crop that was ready for harvest. Many of those farmers lost that entire crop.

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“Most of our farmers had as good a crop as we’ve ever seen, and it was so close to harvest for cotton, soybeans, peanuts and pecans,” said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “It’s devastating to lose a crop that had so much promise. Our farmers are great people who are assisting each other with cleaning up the damage, and we’re so grateful to everyone across the state who is helping in some way.”

According to the department, reportable damage would include structural, crop and livestock losses. Producers are also encouraged to take photos of damage.

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, said, “Feeding the Gulf Coast has a number of distribution and pantry options for those in who need food assistance due to Hurricane Sally. You can find the locations on their website.”

“If you have insurance, you should file a claim with them first before registering with FEMA,” Byrne said. “That will allow for the quickest response. Even if you have made a claim with your insurance company, you can still register for FEMA assistance.”

To apply for FEMA disaster assistance visit disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.

They eye of Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores but the damage stretches across much of south Alabama and the western Florida panhandle. Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties have been declared a natural disaster by FEMA.

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Brooks supports DOJ decision to declare New York City an “anarchist jurisdiction”

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Mo Brooks speaks during a television interview.

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, on Tuesday said the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other “socialist Democrat elected officials” have “utterly failed to maintain law and order.” Brooks said that the lack of leadership has led the U.S. Department of Justice to declare New York City an “anarchist jurisdiction.”

President Donald Trump issued a memo ordering financial retribution against cities that he views as having bowed to violent mobs and cut funding for their police departments. The declaration will purportedly allow the Trump administration to cut federal funding for the cities including New York, Portland and Seattle.

“Socialist Democrat elected officials running some of America’s largest cities have utterly failed to maintain law & order — one of the most basic functions of government,” Brooks said. “New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio have willfully allowed violent anarchists to rampage so badly that the U.S. Department of Justice has designated New York City as an ‘Anarchist Jurisdiction.’ Let Cuomo and DeBlasio’s leadership failure be a warning to American voters everywhere. Placing feckless Socialist Democrats in charge is tantamount to turning your city over to violent anarchists.”

There has been national attention on rising rates of shootings in a number of large cities.

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement Monday. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.”

“It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens,” Barr added.

White House budget director Russ Vought is set to issue guidance to federal agencies on withdrawing funds from the cities in less than two weeks. The DOJ said that the list of cities eligible for defunding will be updated periodically.

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It is not yet clear what funds are likely to be cut. New York City gets roughly $7 billion in federal funding.

New York City Council passed a budget this summer that cut $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s $6 billion annual budget amid protests against police brutality.

Brooks represents Alabama’s 5th Congressional District and has no Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 general election.

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Rogers disappointed Democrats have not offered a Homeland Security reauthorization

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Mike Rogers (VIA CSPAN)

Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, wrote an editorial in the Washington Examiner saying that he is disappointed but not surprised that Democrats have yet to offer a reauthorization package for the Department of Homeland Security.

“It’s been over 1,100 days since the last Department of Homeland Security authorization bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Rogers said. “And as we approach the end of the 116th Congress, the chances grow thin of the majority introducing legislation to provide the Department of Homeland Security with the resources and authorities it needs to stop the growing threats to our homeland.”

“I wish I could say I’m surprised Democrats have yet to offer a reauthorization package,” Rogers wrote. “However, this is the party that started out this Congress with calls to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Rogers slammed House Democrats for what he claimed is a trend of becoming increasingly anti-law enforcement and ignoring “violent mobs” that have been rioting in many major cities.

“This is the party that last year called the unprecedented migrant surge at the Southwest border a ‘Fake Emergency,’ and took half a year to vote on critical humanitarian funding to address the crisis,” Rogers said. “This is the party that turned a blind eye as violent mobs took over cities across our country. It’s reached the point that now some on the left are calling for the abolition of DHS and the defunding of our police.”

Rogers said that while Democrats have done nothing, House Republicans have introduced a two-year reauthorization bill in The Keep America Secure Act.

Rogers said that The Keep America Secure Act will provide DHS with the resources and authorities that the department needs to stay ahead of evolving threats and position DHS to be successful on new battlegrounds.

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Rogers is the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee

Rogers represents Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District. He is seeking his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives in this Nov. 3’s general election. Adia Winfrey is the Democratic challenger.

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