[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 214 (Thursday, December 17, 2020)]
[House]
[Pages H7234-H7235]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                              COVID RELIEF

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
Michigan (Ms. Slotkin) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. SLOTKIN. Mr. Speaker, today, on the eve of a hopeful vote on the 
next COVID relief bill that our Problem Solvers Caucus has so ably led 
the charge on, I rise to tell the stories of three individuals from my 
district. Their stories represent just a fraction of the messages I 
have been receiving on COVID relief.
  But today, on the floor of the people's House, I rise because they 
deserve to be heard. Their stories are the reason we refuse to go home 
for Christmas without an agreement. They are why we continue to fight 
until a deal is reached.
  First, I would like to talk about Bob, who wrote to me from Brighton, 
Michigan. Bob is a pillar of his community. After serving his Nation in 
the Army National Guard for 6 years, he has been giving back to his 
fellow veterans for over 21 years as a district post commander for The 
American Legion.
  But for the first time in 16 years, Bob recently found himself laid 
off from his job in construction due to the coronavirus. To cover his 
expenses, like 171,000 others in Michigan, he had to file a first-time 
claim for unemployment insurance. Despite being eligible for the 
State's maximum benefit, he cannot make ends meet.
  Between medications and health insurance, mortgage and car payments, 
utilities and food, he is having to turn to his savings, and he knows 
that won't last long.
  Bob is responsible, a straight shooter, and he has served our 
country. He is the kind of Michigander who anyone would want in their 
corner, but right now, he is asking for help, not sometime in the 
future, not after the inauguration of a new President.
  He is asking us to pass a bill that helps the millions of Americans 
who are in need. It is our job, and it is our duty to rise to that 
call.

                              {time}  1230

  I am also pushing for relief for Richard, who is from my hometown of 
Holly, Michigan. Richard chairs our Downtown Development Authority 
Board, which supports the businesses on Main Street, many of which have 
been devastated by the pandemic.
  Richard has had a front row seat to how critical the situation is, so 
he wrote me, asking what the Federal Government is going to do to save 
small businesses from bankruptcy.
  I had the chance to talk to Richard over the phone this week, and we 
agreed that small businesses need loans and clarity on whether those 
loans will be forgiven or if they can deduct that loan in tax season. 
This is what we will hopefully be voting on in the next 48 hours in the 
update to the PPP program.
  Richard and I do not see eye to eye on every issue, but when it comes 
to our local businesses, we are residents of Holly first. We agree that 
small businesses need a bridge to get them through the next year when 
the vaccine will be widely available. After all, it is business owners 
like Richard who have shown the grit and resilience needed to adapt to 
these challenging times. It is only right that we have their backs when 
they need it most.
  Mr. Speaker, lastly, I am pushing for this bill because of Karli. She 
is a server at Mackle's in Hartland, Michigan--where, by the way, they 
have the best buffalo chicken wing tenders ever--and the best part of 
the job for her is creating memorable experiences for guests who come 
to share a meal. But these days, with the kitchen converted fully to 
takeout, she is working half as many shifts and taking home half the 
pay she used to.
  COVID blindsided her and the rest of the service industry, and now 
she is worried about the bills that are piling up. In between shifts 
and stretching every paycheck, she is going to school to become a 
nurse, joining the absolute front line of America's latest war. Simply 
put, she can't imagine going into the new year with no extra help.
  Mr. Speaker, she ends her letter with these words: ``Please help take 
care of us so we can get back to taking care of you as our guests.''
  Take care of us so we can take care of you.
  Mr. Speaker, think about that for a moment. In the middle of a global 
pandemic, one that has claimed 300,000 American lives and upended our 
way of life, that is the mantra of folks on the ground, folks who just 
want to take care of their neighbors and their communities. They are 
not asking for the government to solve every problem, but they expect 
their government to act.
  For residents in my district, an agreement is more than just numbers 
on a page. It is a ray of hope that maybe they will spend Christmas a 
little less worried. It is a new year that they can truly look forward 
to. It is a sign that, when their backs are up against the wall and 
they need help, Congress can get in a room and agree on a deal.

[[Page H7235]]

  Mr. Speaker, we are so close to that finish line, and so I ask all my 
colleagues to join me in heeding the pleas of Bob and Richard and 
Karli. Let's do the right thing. Let's pass a bill so we can help those 
who need it the most.

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