U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is seeking to extend the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), using a legislative maneuver that would force a vote on the extension if it were able to get enough support from other House of Representatives measures.
Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, announced Sept. 17 that she would be filing a discharge petition in order to force a vote on legislation intended to extend the PPP. The Congresswoman can file the petition Sept. 25 at the earliest per House rules, a release from her office stated, and will require 218 signatures from other house members in order to compel the House to vote on whether to bring the legislation extending the program to a vote.
The legislation in question was previously brought up by Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. It would distribute a remaining $134 billion in program reserves that have gone unused after the program’s Aug. 8 expiration, Herrera Beutler’s release stated.
Herrera Beutler’s office placed the blame on the stalling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who the release stated was preventing relief for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 and various restrictions placed on them due to the pandemic. The release added that wildfires across the Western U.S. were also exacerbating issues businesses are facing.
“The Paycheck Protection Program has been a bridge for almost 9,500 small businesses in Southwest Washington alone, but if we fail to extend it immediately, it will have been a bridge to nowhere because small businesses remain on the brink of survival. I’ve introduced this discharge petition so we can go around Speaker Pelosi’s unwillingness to make the Paycheck Protection Program a priority, and rush aid to small businesses who desperately need it,” Herrera Beutler said in the release.
House Republicans would only need 20 Democrats to sign the petition to force a vote if all GOP members sign as well, Politico reports. The petition is a way to make legislation move onto the floor for a vote should it be stuck in committee.