Scalise: Congress Must Focus on Relief for Families and Businesses
WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined Fox News Channel's Cavuto to discuss the phase three Coronavirus stimulus package that Congress is developing to ensure families, businesses, and employees have something to return to once we get beyond the Coronavirus crisis. Additionally, he stressed the need to implement rules to allow banks to gives businesses 90 days of forbearance to repay their loans so they can maintain enough cash flow to keep their employees.
On the phase three Coronavirus relief package Congress is developing:
“Well clearly, you're seeing each governor handle it a little bit differently, but they're all following the direction from the CDC, and CDC guidelines have been, I think, what's been driving a lot of the decisions that governors have been making. And, you know, so that's where those decisions have been coming from. But, you know, in the end it's trying to work through and hold things together so that families have something to come back to when we get beyond this, and I know [Congress is] working on a big relief package to try to ensure, for both families and businesses, that they can come back.”
On the need to give businesses extra time to pay their loans:
“It's hard to say on the [cost of the bill] because there are a lot of pieces that have been negotiated, but not agreed to, but we're trying to finalize that over the next day or two. And clearly, there are big pieces to it. And a lot of what you're looking at too on the business side is to try to get businesses to hold their workforce together as much as they can. I mean, we've seen large layoffs already, but there are a lot of companies trying to make a decision. You know, maybe they've got a bank payment coming up in the next few days and they have that, but they also want to keep as much of their workforce as they can. And, you know, we're working with the banks and trying to get some regulatory relief. I know something I've been pushing, something we did after Katrina, was gave the bank's the ability to do up to 90 days forbearance, where they pushed loans back an extra 90 days, and gave you some breathing room when you had no cash flow. And clearly, we know that's the case right now. And there are a lot of banks, by the way, that would like this ability as well without getting penalized by the regulator so that they could work with their local small businesses and say, ‘Look, I know you have no revenue, you can hold off for three months, push your loan back for three months, and keep your business intact.’ And the same is being done for families with mortgages.”
On ensuring businesses can get back up and running after being shut down:
“I'm very worried about how it's having an impact, both short term and long term, and I think the biggest uncertainty that you're seeing in the markets is that they don't know when that date is going to be when things do come back. I mean, we are going to come back. You know, whether it's weeks, and some people are wondering if it's going to be longer than that, I hope it's not. And I think once we have a clear idea, you know, when you listen to Dr. Fauci and others talk about that spike and, you know, you don't want the hospital system overwhelmed, but you know people want to know okay is it going to be a few more weeks? We can plan for that and there's some businesses that are going to have trouble holding on for that long. But then, there are a lot more that are saying, 'If this is going to be months, and that would be a whole different situation,' and I think you know we've all got to recognize that. Hopefully we can address it on the front end like we are right now, and then get to a point where when it's time to come back open there's businesses to come back open, there are jobs for people to go back to, and that's what we've got to be focused on in this relief package.”