Congressman Fred Keller votes no on massive year-end spending bill
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) released the following statement after voting against the $2.3 trillion year-end spending package, which combined government funding with COVID-relief legislation and passed the House by a vote of 359-53:
Congressman Fred Keller made the following statement in response to the vote:
“Since the start of the pandemic, I have advocated for targeted relief for American families, workers, and small businesses that is focused on getting Americans back to work. The best stimulus is a job, and Congress should advance policies that will allow our economy to recover and create family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvanians. While this legislative package includes measures I have worked hard to advance, such as extending and improving the Paycheck Protection Program, it also spends well beyond our nation’s means, lacks critical protections for small businesses, healthcare providers, and educators, and continues policies that will make it harder to achieve sustained economic recovery.
“Based on conversations with small businesses and workers across Pennsylvania’s 12th District, I have advocated for an extension of the PPP and allowing businesses to deduct PPP expenses. The PPP has been a tremendous success keeping Americans employed and our small businesses operational by providing forgivable loans. These provisions will allow struggling small businesses and their workers to continue to access critical resources. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrat majority blocked efforts to pass a clean extension of the PPP more than 40 times since the program expired in August.
“For months, Speaker Pelosi passed messaging bills, using the pandemic as a political bargaining chip. COVID relief must stand on its own and be narrowly targeted to the hardest hit industries and those who need it the most. The only way we will see sustained economic recovery is by supporting relief that gets Americans back to work. Unfortunately, this bill saddles our children and grandchildren with more debt and misses the mark in ensuring targeted relief for the American people.
“This package includes an Omnibus appropriations bill, coronavirus relief, an extension of expiring tax credits, and legislation to address surprise medical billing. Each of these items is important, and Congress should deal with them individually—through regular order—so that members of Congress and the American people can review them. Unfortunately, this 5,593-page bill was released hours before the House voted on it. We are never going to change Washington, D.C. and fix our nation’s problems legislating like this.”
Congressman Keller has taken significant action to get targeted, pro-growth relief to American families, workers, and businesses. Those actions include:
- Supporting H.R. 7010, the PPP Flexibility Act, which provided additional flexibility to PPP loans, including extending the time period businesses have to spend their funds and lowering the threshold required to be spent on payroll.
- Sending a letter to Senate leadership and the Senate Small Business Committee, requesting the creation of a streamlined forgiveness application for loans under $350,000 to prevent businesses from being weighed down by burdensome guidelines when applying for loans or loan forgiveness.
- Cosponsoring H.R. 7777, the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, a bipartisan bill that modifies loan forgiveness under the paycheck protection program for loans of $150,000 or less.
- Cosponsoring H.R. 7175, the Paycheck Protection for Producers Act, which would allow farmers to calculate their PPP loan amount based on 2019 gross income rather than net income.
- Signing Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler’s discharge petition, which would force a vote on H.R. 8265, the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act, to free up and extend the additional $138 billion of unspent PPP funds.
- Sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy requesting that Congress restore deductibility of forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) expenses.
- Sending a letter to House leadership requesting clarification that recipients of forgivable PPP loans can claim normal deductions in any end-of-year legislation.
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