I am thankful for speaker phones, otherwise I would certainly have a cauliflower ear!
Certainly the overwhelming volume of calls and emails to my offices are from small businesses that truly are ready for the next phase....opening for business again.
We all need to begin to prepare for that wonderful day and will need to protect workers and consumers. To that end, my day started early with a conference call with some of my Michigan colleagues. We received word about our Governor’s extension of her Executive Order which you can read here. She has been communicating well with us. I thought I would also include a good story from MLive regarding unemployment insurance that might be useful, which you can read here.
The big news out of D.C. was that the U.S. Senate failed to reach an agreement for an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program that the SBA is managing through our local lending institutions. Tomorrow I will hope to include some local statistics regarding this lending to small businesses. In just four days, more than $110 billion has been issued by local financial institutions nationwide. It clearly will not last more than another couple days.
Both the House and Senate are in pro-forma sessions, which thus requires unanimous consent to pass legislation this week. The Senate Democrats insisted on a number of other provisions - as I predicted yesterday - and it fell apart when they objected to only PPP funds. Negotiations likely resume this weekend. Hopefully, we can get an agreement next week that both the House, Senate, and White House can support. I would predict that the PPP funds will be paired with funds for state and local governments. Remember, for them, they will not be receiving their normal funds for tax receipts next week nor are they receiving sales tax funds as most businesses are closed. The Mayor of Detroit earlier this week predicted a $100 million shortfall between the loss of revenue and unanticipated expenditures.
I again participated in a conference call with SW Michigan First and our Lt. Governor, which was a bit of a juggling act for me as I bounced back and forth in another conference call with two cabinet secretaries and some 150 colleagues. The Lt. Governor stressed that the Governor was working well with our congressional delegation and I certainly concur. I quizzed the Department of Agriculture how we could work with our Agriculture community and their use of legal Agriculture workers with the PPP program. They sympathized with our plight but offered no substantive guidance. Next step will be if we can get some legislative language to address the problem. Stay tuned.
The great idea initiated by Lansing colleague Elissa Slotkin and submitted yesterday by MSU to the FDA to reuse single-use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is moving forward. I discussed the MSU proposal with FDA’s chair of their device division, who assured me that the idea was “critically important” with a lead reviewer assigned today. Hopefully they can move quickly and will not have additional questions. Again, stay tuned.
Late this afternoon, we learned from a major health provider that it appears that an important shipment of testing material had been diverted earlier in the week and we are running that story down. Hopefully we will be able to secure a similar shipment within a few days. Again, stay tuned.
Lastly, a good story I wanted to share from our local TV stations that you can see here. Schupan Aluminum can now produce shields for health workers installing the ventilators on patients. A great story that I am also sharing with the White House as a credit to ingenuity right here in SW Michigan.
Today’s inspiration comes from Daniel Webster's, “Immortal Craftsmen”
"If we work upon marble, it will perish;
If we work upon brass, time will efface it; If we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; But if we work upon immortal souls, If we imbue them with principles, With the just fear of the Creator and love of fellow men, We engrave on those tablets something which will brighten all eternity."
Let us all be so grateful to our fellow brothers and sisters who are in harm’s way these days. God bless them all!
Member of Congress
RESOURCES FOR SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN
GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY AT HOME ORDER UNTIL APRIL 30
The Governor extended her stay at home order through April 30. Folks should continue to practice social distancing. If you need additional information on this order, please visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RESOURCE GUIDE
We published a Resource Guide to help southwest Michigan families, workers, and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis. We wanted to be sure you had all of the information in one place, but as this crisis continues, we will continue to update it and make additions. Click here for the most recent version of the resource guide.