On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law just a few hours after I voted for it to pass the House. This bill provided additional personal protective equipment to states, expanded COVID-19 testing nationwide and provided financial relief to Americans suffering economic hardship due to government-imposed lockdowns.
Within the CARES Act was a program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program provided businesses struggling to pay their employees with the funds necessary to do so. This wildly successful program kept small businesses’ doors open by providing them a lifeline when revenues took a downturn. But most importantly, it saved tens of thousands of jobs by preventing layoffs and making sure Wisconsin families did not have to worry about how they would put food on their tables.
On April 23, 2020, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law an extension of PPP to continue to make funds available for businesses. These businesses were not simply handed a check, they were required to apply for this assistance through local lenders, who would then be reimbursed by the federal government. I also used my position on the House Oversight committee to make sure these funds were going to businesses and people who were truly in need.
Today, nearly eight months later, COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, and nationwide, are as high as they've been all year. Businesses are struggling to keep their doors open, which means some Wisconsinites are at risk of losing their jobs.
That is why I joined House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney and other House Republican leaders on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday to again call for Speaker Pelosi to help these struggling Americans by bringing a bipartisan extension of PPP to the House floor for a vote before Christmas. The House Speaker has final control of which bills make it to the House floor for a vote, so Pelosi has been the barrier to relief for the past several months.
The House has passed a supplemental PPP bill before, so why is Speaker Pelosi now refusing to do it again? It seems that she is holding out in the hope of passing another multi-trillion dollar bill with many provisions not relevant to COVID-19. This is another political game that I refuse to play. If a clean, responsible, bipartisan PPP extension bill were to come to the House floor today, I would vote for it because our community, our economy and our friends and neighbors are struggling. Each day that passes without additional PPP funding is detrimental, but Speaker Pelosi is the final obstacle to Americans receiving additional relief. I will continue to fight for YOU and to get this much-needed relief over the finish line before the end of the year.
Vitamin D Update
If you are a frequent reader of my newsletter, you know that I believe in the importance of finding treatments for COVID-19 that could help save lives right now as we wait for a vaccine to be distributed.
It has long been known that we need sufficient levels of vitamin D in our bodies and that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to a weaker immune system. Some estimate that 50 percent of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency and Wisconsin is in a part of the country where, according to Harvard Medical School, residents receive little vitamin D from sunlight, except in the summer months, because of our colder climate. Harvard Medical school also states that individuals with darker skin produce less vitamin D in the sun and that on average, African Americans have about half as much vitamin D in their system as do Caucasian Americans.
I have been championing the idea of having adequate levels of vitamin D since the onset of the pandemic, and Dr. Fauci agrees. In April, I sent a letter to Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking them to follow up on studies conducted in other countries about the effect of vitamin D on COVID-19. Sadly, they have not.
This week, I sent a letter to Congressional leadership and spoke on the House floor to encourage those negotiating the next COVID-19 relief package to include language that would require the CDC to investigate vitamin D's effect on the novel coronavirus.
Middle-East Peace Agreement V.4
Bahrain, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and now Morocco. These are the Arab countries that, just this year, have normalized relations with Israel. One thing that all of these peace agreements have in common is that they were brokered by President Trump.
Israel is a sovereign country and a great American ally. However, much of the violence in the Middle-East comes from religious conflicts between Israel and other countries. Now that four countries have recognized Israel and restored their relationship, the door is open for others to follow.
I applaud President Trump's leadership. He has made promises and kept them. The Middle-East is on the best pathway toward peace that I can remember in my lifetime and look forward to seeing how the region will prosper economically and grow safer for the men, women and children who live there.
Click here to read more about this historic agreement.
Monday was National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. On the anniversary of this tragic event, we come together in unity to honor and remember the 2,403 American soldiers and civilians taken from us during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Each year, we celebrate National Bible Week during the week of Thanksgiving. Since I was in Wisconsin that week, I joined my friend Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
on the House floor Wednesday to discuss the importance of the Bible and its role in American history.
Studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York show that the already FDA-approved Fenofibrate, brand name Tricor, could help downgrade the severity of COVID-19. From the House floor, I called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) to pursue this potentially life-saving lead.
Thursday was the first night of Hanukkah. Chag Sameach to all those celebrating the festival of lights.
As your Congressman, I’m here to serve you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to my offices in Fond du Lac and Washington. If you enjoyed this newsletter be sure to forward it to your family and friends so they can stay informed on what I’m doing in Washington and the Sixth District.
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