Thursday, April 2, 2020

Rick Scott Showcases Companies Helping Americans Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., offered a tip of the cap to companies helping Americans and small businesses during the coronavirus crisis.

On Friday, Scott showcased several companies that were doing their part to help Americans through the outbreak.

“As part of my 30-day plan to get back to normal, I called for a moratorium on financial payments, including rent, mortgages, credit card payments, taxes, and utilities,” Scott said. “There are many great companies across our nation that are stepping up to help individuals and small businesses that are struggling. I commend their efforts, and call on others to follow suit to help all Americans. We won’t forget the companies that provided relief for their customers and did their part to help those struggling to make ends meet.”

Scott showcased the following companies:

Utility Companies:

  • Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and EEI member companies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has listed over 550 broadband and telephone service providers, and trade associations working to keep Americans connected.

Financial Institutions:

  • Ally
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Citibank
  • Discover
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • PNC Bank
  • Quicken Loans
  • Regions Bank
  • Sallie Mae
  • TD Bank
  • Truist
  • USAA
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • Wells Fargo

On the federal level – Moratorium on Evictions:

  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all FHA-insured single-family mortgages for a 60-day period.

“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act just passed by Congress also includes a nationwide moratorium on evictions that will provide much-needed relief and peace of mind for those struggling to make ends meet,” Scott’s office noted.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

Florida Delegation Calls on USDA to Buy More Produce From Local Farms During Coronavirus Crisis

florida fruits and vegetables

The Florida delegation on Capitol Hill is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to buy more produce from local farms as the nation continues to face the coronavirus crisis.

At the end of last week, U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., and Donna Shalala, D-Fla., rounded up members of the Florida delegation to send a letter to U.S. Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue on the matter.

“I’m hearing from farmers in my district that they have fields worth of produce rotting away because they cannot sell their product during this pandemic,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “Agriculture is our second-largest economic driver in South Florida, and our community cannot afford to lose their livelihoods. We must support our farmers during this national crisis.”

Other members of the Florida delegation who signed the letter include U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Al Lawson, D-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Ross Spano, R-Fla., Greg Steube, Michael Waltz, R-Fla., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

The letter was as follows:

Dear Secretary Perdue:

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) moves to implement measures in light of the Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak, we urge you to consider relief for local Florida produce growers and prioritize the purchasing of commodities from these local producers.

The spread of the coronavirus has presented an extraordinary threat to local fruit and vegetable farms in Florida. Our state’s farmers, who supply much of the winter and spring produce to our nation and grow some of the best tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, cabbage, and so much more, are struggling. The unanticipated closure of farmer’s markets, cessation of cruise lines, and the limited capacity or closure of restaurants, schools, and food service has placed a tremendous strain on the incomes and livelihoods of local growers and agricultural producers. Many farmers in Florida have amassed large stocks of nutritious fruits and vegetables that they are simply unable to sell due to the nationwide shutdown of supporting industries. With so many families suddenly facing food insecurity, and the economic strain farmers are experiencing, these stores of perishable local produce should be prioritized for distribution to those in need.

Accordingly, we strongly urge the USDA to consider exercising its Section 32 purchasing authority to procure local fruit and vegetables for federal nutrition programs in Florida and across the country. Utilizing this authority is especially appropriate given the additional emergency funding Congress recently appropriated for federal nutrition programs. Moreover, we request consideration of regulatory flexibility in implementing these purchasing authorities to acquire local produce, including the relaxing of provisions that govern the aesthetic requirements of produce purchased by the USDA. A commitment from the USDA to purchase these available fruits and vegetables will not only provide critical relief to local growers and farmers, it will provide necessary assistance and nutritional value to needy families struggling in the midst of this pandemic.

Acting on these steps would help address the economic insecurity felt by local farmers and producers in Florida and across the nation. Thank you for your consideration of this pressing request.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

Ron DeSantis, Richard Corcoran Announce Next Phase of Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Awardees

Ron Desantis

Pointing to how COVID-19 is impacting the state’s economy, on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announces the next phase of funding for the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant.

Almost $2.8 million was awarded to school districts, colleges and private entities to either start or expand registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs throughout the state.

“The Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant puts funding behind a time-tested workforce education model focused on talent development and reducing the statewide skills gap. We understand that some Florida employers who utilize the registered apprenticeship model to train their workforce may have halted their operations due to COVID-19,” said DeSantis. “As we announce the second award phase, I stand ready to assist employers and apprentices so getting a great education in high demand fields can continue.”

“The Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant ensures that Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for expanding high quality workforce education is carried out,” said Corcoran. “The department is proud to work with these new awardees in the development of new, flexible and market-driven programs. This kind of workforce education matters for our state’s economic stability and vitality, especially during this time of trial.”

The Education Department insisted the grant program has already proven successful, noting how the state of Florida, in partnership with the Pinellas County School Board, is first in the nation in providing a pathway for current and future school district employees to become a CTE teacher of record through a Registered Apprenticeship program.

The school districts listed below received funding:

Broward County School District
Carpentry

Hillsborough School District
Construction Trades

Manatee School District
Child Care
TEC Electrician

Orange School District
Medical Assisting

Osceola School District
Welding

Palm Beach School District
Welding

Pasco School District
Electrician

The colleges listed below received funding:

Eastern Florida State College
Space Coast Consortium

Lake-Sumter State College
Electrician

St. Petersburg College
Clinical Medical

Tallahassee Community College
Electrical Contractor

The private entities listed below received funding:

ABC Institute, Inc.
Construction

Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, Inc.
Nursery and Landscape

iBuild Central Florida
OTC Construction
Construction

Jacksonville Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Inc., JACT Adult
Electrician

During this year’s legislative session, DeSantis worked with the Florida Legislature to secure funding for Florida’s students and families, including $10 million dedicated to apprenticeships. Between both phases of the grant, 17 school districts (30 programs), 11 colleges (17 programs), one university (one program) and five private entities (six programs) received grants.

 

Marco Rubio Showcases Benefits for Small Businesses Included in $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill

marco rubio

With Congress passing a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill to help the economy deal with the coronavirus crisis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., brought out information on how small businesses can use the $377 billion included in the bill for them.

Rubio, the chairman of the U.S. Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released the document covering the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This provision was a key part of Rubio’s “Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act” which was included in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”

“PPP is a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis,” Rubio’s office noted.

Rubio weighed in on the funds on Saturday.

“My staff and I have been in constant communication with the SBA and are focused on making sure the Paycheck Protection Program is available to small businesses right away through the thousands of approved SBA lenders across the country,” Rubio said. “I am also committed to working with SBA and the Treasury Department so they can swiftly onboard new bank and nonbank lenders into the program. From the start, our primary focus has been to get cash into the hands of small businesses and their employees as quickly as possible.”

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

Gas Prices in Florida Go Below $2 a Gallon

gas prices

With Floridians staying home due to the coronavirus crisis, gas prices continue to drop across the state.

AAA released a report showing on Sunday that 75 percent of gas stations in Florida had prices below $2 a gallon. That figure stood at 45 percent at the start of last week.

The average gallon of gas in Florida cost $1.98 on Sunday, down 10 cents from a week ago. This is the first time in four years that Florida was under $2 a gallon. The national average stood at $2.02 on Sunday.

“Gas prices are plunging primarily because Floridians are not driving as much as they normally do this time of year. According to the Florida Petroleum and Marketers Association, gasoline demand in major metro areas is down by as much as 50 percent. Additionally, concession sales inside the stores are reportedly down 10-15 percent,” AAA noted.

“The cost for gasoline has dramatically declined in the past month, and there are even more discounts to come,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “If the state average eventually drifts below $1.73, pump prices would be the lowest since 2009. That may not be a difficult benchmark to reach. If wholesale prices hold at current levels, the state average could eventually sink below $1.60 per gallon. Although these savings are a tremendous benefit for drivers, unfortunately they come at a time when residents are unable to go out and enjoy them.”

Gainesville had the most expensive gas in the state with an average of $2.17 a gallon followed by the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market at $2.12 and Miami at $2.06.

The Villages and Jacksonville had the least expensive gas in the state at $1.86 a gallon followed  Panama City at $1.89.

Cook Political Report Lowers Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s Chances for a Second Term

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

A prominent political pundit lowered the odds of a South Florida Democrat congresswoman as a prominent Republican has entered the GOP primary.

On Friday, David Wasserman released his latest look at U.S. House races in November for the Cook Political Report.

Wasserman moved U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s, D-Fla,, race from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic” thanks to Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez entering the Republican primary.

“It looked like Mucarsel-Powell might cruise to victory after former GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, whom she defeated 51 percent to 49 percent in 2018, announced he wouldn’t seek a comeback.” Wasserman wrote. “But Republicans got new life here in January when two-term Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is term-limited in 2020, declared he would run and bring his universal name recognition to the race.

“Gimenez, 65, is regarded as a moderate who won reelection to his nonpartisan county post with 56 percent in 2016. Although he has long identified as a Republican and has run on cutting taxes, he said that fall that he was voting for Hillary Clinton. Even so, President Trump tweeted his endorsement of Gimenez upon his launch after House GOP strategists stressed Gimenez is the party’s only hope here,” Wasserman added.

“Trump’s willingness to forgive (or forget) should help Gimenez get past more conservative and outspoken restaurateur Irina Vilarino in the August primary. But it could be a liability in the fall considering Hillary Clinton carried the 26th CD 57 percent to 41 percent in 2016 and Mucarsel-Powell, an Ecuadorian-American immigrant, will portray Gimenez as a shape-shifter. It’s competitive, but Mucarsel-Powell still has the edge,” Wasserman concluded.

As of now, the Cook Political Report sees four competitive House races in the Sunshine State come November.

The only Florida Democrat in the House that the Cook Political Report sees as potentially vulnerable is U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., in a “Likely Democratic” district.

The Cook Political Report sees two Florida Republicans in the House as potentially vulnerable. U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., is in a “Leans Republican” district while U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is in a “Likely Republican” one.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Rick Scott, Ted Yoho, Darren Soto Look to Help First Responders With Personal Protective Equipment Bill

medical supplies

Members of the Florida delegation from both sides of Capitol Hill are working on a proposal to help ensure first responders and healthcare workers have the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they need as they deal with the coronavirus crisis.

A week and a half ago, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., unveiled the “American-Made Protection for Healthcare Workers and First Responders Act” to ensure more PPE is made in the U.S. instead of other nations, including China.

“The American-Made Protection for Healthcare Workers and First Responders Act would address the current PPE shortage and build the national stockpile of goods from American-based producers to eliminate our dependence on foreign adversaries’ supply chains during a crisis,” Scott’s office insisted.

The bill would have the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have a “Strategic National Stockpile of PPE” which would include “gowns, helmets, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks (surgical masks) and respirators (like N95) or other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness” and “disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, ventilators and respirators.” The bill would also stop the federal government from buying PPE from foreign suppliers. Scott’s bill would be phased in over a 12 month period.

Scott weighed in on the bill when he brought it out.

“It is unacceptable that we are running a shortage of PPE for our nation’s healthcare workers and first responders as they work to combat the coronavirus and any future outbreaks,” Scott said when he introduced the bill. “We have to do everything we can to quickly get them the gear they need to stay safe. We cannot continue to rely on countries like Communist China, who lied about the coronavirus and refuses to be a partner in solving this crisis, for critical supplies. This outbreak has shown why we need to end our reliance on foreign supply chains. As a nation, we need to finally take a stand and demand that Communist China is removed from our supply chain. We need to build our own strategic stockpile of American-made protective gear to make sure we don’t face a shortage again.”

So far, Scott does not have any cosponsors. The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee last week.

Still, Scott’s bill got a boost on Thursday when U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., introduced the companion measure in the U.S. House with U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., as a cosponsor.

“I am honored to join Senator Scott and Congressman Soto in this bipartisan effort to provide America’s healthcare providers and first responders with the equipment they need to care for those affected by the coronavirus,” Yoho said. “It is imperative that we provide these brave men and women with the supplies they need to safely perform their important work. This bill also strengthens our national security by moving the manufacture of critical supplies to the United States and away from Communist China. This current pandemic is a stark reminder that we must not depend on foreign supply chains in times of emergencies. The creation of a strategic stockpile of American-made PPE is the right thing to do so we will be fully prepared for future outbreaks.”

“Hospitals in Florida and across America are reaching crisis levels as they face shortages of basic supplies like facemasks, gowns, and gloves. The coronavirus pandemic has inevitably shown us the importance of having American-made emergency stockpiles while limiting our dependence on foreign supply chains. Our bipartisan bill seeks to prioritize the production of resources needed to protect frontline health workers and ensure these catastrophic shortages never happen again,” Soto said.

Yoho’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce, the Oversight and Reform and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

New Study Shows How Coronavirus Crisis has Devastated Florida’s Tourism Industry

florida

The coronavirus crisis has devastated Florida’s tourism industry, a new study shows.

On Friday, Destinations Florida, which defines itself as the “unifying voice representing Florida’s destination marketing organizations and strives to increase the effectiveness of local tourism promotion organizations’ efforts,” released some of its findings from a study looking at how coronavirus has hit the Sunshine State.

“The study outlined significant drops in hotel occupancy rates, drops in hotel bookings, revenue losses and employee layoffs,” Destinations Florida noted.

These included 99 percent of hotel, vacation rental agencies and bed and breakfasts having drops in bookings 30 days out and 94 percent of them with bookings 60 days out. In March 2019, hotel occupancy in Florida was 82 percent. In March 2020, hotel occupancy stood at 23 percent. Almost every tourism business in Florida–97 percent–saw a loss of revenue and profits due to coronavirus while one in three has already let employees go.

The results of the study were compiled from a total of 995 completed surveys from industry partners in 37 counties. The majority of respondents were small tourism-reliant businesses with fewer than 10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenues. The study was conducted by Downs & St. Germain Research, which donated its time and expertise to this project.

Robert Skrob, the executive director of Destinations Florida, said the Sunshine State will have work to do once the crisis has passed.

“While the numbers may seem bleak at the moment, Florida’s tourism industry can and will rebound provided we are able to successfully promote our state and local destinations to potential visitors,” said Skrob on Friday. “Once the threat of COVID-19 has abated, we will need Visit Florida, local tourism promotion organizations and local tourism taxes now more than ever to let potential visitors know that Florida is open for business. A return to a healthy, vibrant tourism industry also means jobs and revenue returned to the state.”

“Florida needs visitor-generated sales tax revenue to maintain its current tax structure, keep taxes low for residents, and to continue to offer existing programs and services. Funding Visit Florida and protecting the current uses of local tourism taxes will help reinvigorate Florida’s and local economies,” Destinations Florida insisted.

 

 

 

Greg Steube: Hold Chinese Regime Responsible for COVID-19‘s Impact on the American Economy

Greg Steube

This week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., unveiled a proposal to “hold China financially responsible for the detrimental economic impact of COVID-19 on the American economy.”

Steube introduced the “Chinese Government COVID-19 Accountability Act” on Thursday.

The bill would have the White House create a strategy to “hold the Chinese government responsible for the initiation and spread of COVID-19 and will require the Chinese government to be financially responsible for costs associated with the overall economic impact on the United States caused by COVID-19.”

Steube’s office included some of the areas where the Florida congressman wants to hold Beijing accountable.

“Among some of the reimbursements the Chinese government will be required to pay include $100 million to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), over $105 million to the United States Department of Health & Human Services, $2.5 billion from the administration’s appropriation request, and the $8.3 billion in funding from the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act,” the congressman’s office noted.

“The Chinese government’s failure to be transparent with global leaders about the coronavirus outbreak is not only costing thousands of lives but also is causing serious economic harm for millions of Americans and businesses,” Steube said on Thursday. “We should not have to pay for China’s mistakes financially. This virus has already cost us enough.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. So far, there is no version of the bill over in the U.S. Senate and Steube has not reeled in any cosponsors.

Steube is also backing a resolution from U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the government of the People’s Republic of China made multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which include the Chinese government’s intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus, a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities, internal censorship of doctors and journalists, and malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.” The resolution has almost 40 supporters including Steube and fellow Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Ross Spano, Michael Waltz and Ted Yoho. Banks introduced the resolution earlier this week and it is also before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

House Passes Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Over Thomas Massie’s Objections

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On Friday, the U.S. House passed a $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package to support the economy which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.

With the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act” now through both chamber of Congress it heads to President Donald Trump’s desk.

The proposal cleared the U.S. Senate on Wednesday with both of Florida’s senators supporting it. It will send up $1,200 for every American adult making up to $75,000 a year and $2,400 to married couples who file jointly if they make up to $150,000. It also includes $500 payments for every child. Individuals making more than $75,000 will see a $5 reduction for each $100 they earn up to $112,500 for individuals.

House members had to head to Washington for the vote on Friday as U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tried to force a quorum to have a recorded vote.

“I came here to make sure our republic doesn’t die by a voice vote in an empty chamber,” Massie said on the House floor on Friday.

But with a quorum present, the House passed the measure on a voice vote as Massie offered the only opposition to it.

Massie drew fire from all sides, including from Trump. The president took to Twitter on Friday morning,  accusing Massie of “empowering the radical left Democrats” and calling him a “do nothing Kentucky politician” and a “disaster for America, and for the great state of Kentucky!”

Weighing in on Massie’s effort on Friday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., also took aim at the Kentucky congressman.

“Using a parliamentary threat to sabotage low-wage workers, hospitals and small businesses from swiftly receiving the financial relief they so desperately need, is more than just cynical grandstanding, it is dangerous,” Wasserman Schultz said before the vote. “To pull this stunt amid a global pandemic will needlessly place hundreds of people–members, staff, support workers and all their families – into a world of unwelcome anxiety and unwise public health interactions, regardless of the precautions.

“This may prove to be no more than a hubristic bluff by an attention-starved member. But if not, I will do all I can today to help every American avoid an even harsher disruption than the one that is already being unleashed on all of us right now. Today’s vote is a political game for no American – but one,” she added.

Other members of the Florida delegation also weighed in on the vote.

“These are challenging times for all of us – our families, friends, and neighbors in Florida and across the country,” said U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla. “The health and safety of the American people is paramount, and to ensure that safety we also must ensure peoples’ financial security to weather this crisis. The message we are sending today is that we’ve got your back and will do what it takes to lift this nation to safety.”

“While we sometimes forget it, we are one America—one nation, under God. In times of crisis, the ties that bind us to each other are strong, and we must do all that we can to safeguard our families, neighbors, and communities. Today Congress passed the third—and not the last—of our historic federal relief packages to protect the American people,” said U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.

“The COVID-19 pandemic testing every system, both public and private, but more importantly it is testing our solidarity,” Demings added. “I still believe that America can do incredible things when history demands it of us. This moment demands that we endure any burden to ensure that no one will be left behind, and that every one of us—and our hopes and dreams—can survive this moment.”

U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., backed the package even though he said he did not like the price tag.

“While the $2.2 trillion piece of legislation is a tough pill to swallow, America is facing an unprecedented situation,” Waltz said. “This virus is a war against our healthcare and our economy – and Congress must help our courageous healthcare workers battling on the frontlines and those Americans who are suffering from the impact of this disease. In the foxhole, we are united by a common purpose: to complete the mission. Our mission in the House is to serve the American people – and I am glad to see us unite to pass this bill today.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., also backed the measure after including a provision to “protect NASA and Defense contract employees to ensure our nation’s space and defense programs are not disrupted while we battle the coronavirus.”

Posey weighed in on the bill after the vote.

“Contract workers at NASA and within the defense industry face severe financial hardship when they are restricted from reporting to work at the Cape or their respective program locations – for many there’s no telework option,” said Posey. “As we battle the coronavirus we don’t want to risk losing our highly skilled workforce which ultimately could jeopardize our national security and critical space program investments. We must ensure that as we recover from the virus, our economy can get a quick restart and keeping as many workers in place as possible across the private and public sectors is critical.”

“In the interest of public safety, federal and state governments have temporarily closed businesses causing many to be out of work through no fault of their own,” added Posey. “It is critical that we address the serious health threat that this virus poses to our families and communities, and, while this bill is by no means perfect, it is an important step in offering temporary relief to Americans as many avenues of our economy are paused.”

U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., also backed the proposal, weighing in on it on Thursday.

“When an enemy invades our country and essentially shuts down our free market and removes hardworking Americans’ ability to work, we have a responsibility to act.  This bill is not perfect – a portion of the funding is unnecessary – but most of it provides critical resources for hard-working Americans, small businesses and our healthcare providers and facilities as we battle this hidden enemy. Our citizens and businesses need this assistance because of decisions made by state and local governments, as well as adherence to guidance from the CDC to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect those most vulnerable in our society, and prevent healthcare facilities from becoming overwhelmed. It is for these reasons that I support this bill,” Webster said.

“These are tough times, these are unprecedented times, but it is in these times when we see the beauty of American ingenuity and community spirit.  Americans are uniting together to serve each other. Young people are helping our seniors get groceries; private companies are voluntarily retooling their factories and production lines to produce millions of additional N-95 masks, ventilators and more.  Actions like these, coupled with following the advice of the experts at CDC to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus will help our country get through this and come back better and stronger than ever,” Webster added.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.