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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Matt Cartwright (17th District of Pennsylvania)

Scranton, PA – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) sent a letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in both parties urging them to reach a bipartisan deal that provides urgently needed economic relief for Northeastern Pennsylvanians, as the Pennsylvania state government issued new restrictions intended to mitigate the latest surge of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

“As time runs short for a bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal to come together before the remaining CARES Act programs expire, I wish to express the urgency of putting aside our differences and coming together to provide relief for all Americans who desperately need us to act. We need to find common ground and pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill immediately,” Cartwright writes in the letter.

Cartwright outlined the concerns of some of the constituents have raised with him since many of the CARES Act relief programs expired. While the vaccine offers hope, he pointed out that the latest coronavirus surge still threatens lives and livelihoods.

“The emergency authorization and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is reason for hope that this public health and economic crisis will soon be behind us. However, we are experiencing by far the worst COVID-19 surge our nation has endured since the outbreak began, and the trendlines are looking worse,” He wrote.

He added that economic support is critical in light of the new business and travel restrictions implemented by the state government over the weekend.

“In my home state of Pennsylvania, new lockdowns have been imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure those who contract the disease can be treated in a hospital if necessary. While these painful measures are needed, they are untenable without robust economic support to protect families, jobs and businesses,” Cartwright wrote.

Read the full letter below or HERE.

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer:

As time runs short for a bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal to come together before the remaining CARES Act programs expire, I wish to express the urgency of putting aside our differences and coming together to provide relief for all Americans who desperately need us to act. We need to find common ground and pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill immediately.

I hear daily from many of my constituents whose hearts are breaking with worry.

A mother near Matamoras called to ask when her pandemic SNAP benefits would return to help her feed her two school-age children. She does not have the means to pick up meals from the school and monitor her children who are learning remotely.

Almost every week, I get another e-mail from a man who lives near East Stroudsburg and has been waiting for months for his Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). It took quite some time before Pennsylvania’s system was operational, and people really could not wait — yet so many still are waiting. Many more have told me how the credit cards, the banks, the car dealerships and others are not willing to wait for their money.

One woman called because her extra $300 in federal funds added to her unemployment benefits ended. Those dollars moved over from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief expired in September.

A man in Wilkes-Barre called because he was still waiting for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan when the funding ran out in July. His voice cracked as he told me how his employees and his family are looking to him for support. For 20 years, he and his partner ran their business without needing a loan or help from anyone.

Large event centers and resorts are some of our biggest employers in the Eighth Congressional District. They have the same fears as small business owners. They call me worried about staying in business and keeping their employees safe — and on payroll. The PPP loan funds covered payroll and some other expenses earlier this year. That money is long gone.

One single mother runs several small businesses and opened a new one despite challenges from COVID-19. She received one SBA loan, which did not go far. She had worried how she was going to keep her businesses afloat until she got a grant through her county’s relief funding made possible through the CARES Act. I think about her and how persistence is power. She kept trying, and she made it. But I know that aid will not last long, either.

Local government officials call to ask about the limits of what they can do with their remaining CARES Act funds. They have so much to do. The funds helped, but it fell short of their needs. Our municipal governments are in jeopardy as sales tax and income tax revenues fall, and I hear their worries about keeping staff in place to maintain operations as well as respond to the pandemic.

The emergency authorization and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is reason for hope that this public health and economic crisis will soon be behind us. However, we are experiencing by far the worst COVID-19 surge our nation has endured since the outbreak began, and the trendlines are looking worse.

In my home state of Pennsylvania, new lockdowns have been imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure those who contract the disease can be treated in a hospital if necessary. While these painful measures are needed, they are untenable without robust economic support to protect families, jobs and businesses.

We should come together and pass a bill that provides relief for people in an efficient manner, including:

  1. A renewal and strengthening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support our struggling business community, along with targeted relief for the hard-hit hospitality and entertainment businesses. The winter will only make things tougher for them, and we need to give them a lifeline to make it to the summer when we hope the vaccine will help us get back to normal.
  2. Stimulus checks to get money into people’s hands, to help them pay their bills and to get money flowing through our economy.
  3. State and local aid to help our governments provide basic services and pay their employees, from our police to our teachers.
  4. An extension of enhanced unemployment benefits to get aid to those that need it most. So many people desperately want to work, but are in an industry that is shut down or struggling. We need to support these families.
  5. Food assistance to help those in need as we see the lines at our food pantries grow amid the holiday season.
  6. Funding for our public health infrastructure and vaccine distribution to keep people healthy and administer the vaccine as efficiently and safely as possible.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope and pray we can find common ground for the good of all Americans in the coming week.

Sincerely,

/s/

MIL OSI USA News