Senator Murray Statement on Insufficient GOP Small Business Pandemic Relief Proposal

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the statement below following a vote on the Senate floor to call up Senate Republicans’ legislation regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.

“These latest Republican proposals, just like their last, ignore the calls I’ve been hearing for months in Washington state: from families and communities struggling to feed themselves and make rent, schools straining to create a healthy learning experience, and from the many workers, restauranteurs, music venues proprietors, non-profit workers and small business owners who have been hurt by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19—all while dramatically shortchanging efforts to make tests faster and easier to get, doing nothing to address glaring health disparities, and without laying out the kind of comprehensive, national vaccines plan experts say is vital.

“It would be beyond shameful to bail out big businesses, but not small ones in my state and others that families and communities depend on so much—and we can’t protect corporations from liability if their workers or customers get sick while ignoring the need for emergency standards to protect workers on the job. We can’t leave behind the people and communities most in need in this crisis—but that’s what these deeply misguided, backward proposals would do.

“Let me be clear: at this very moment, there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of the serious COVID-19 relief families and communities need except Majority Leader McConnell and the members of his party who won’t stand up to him and fight for their constituents like Democrats are fighting for ours. We can get this done as soon as they get serious about the depth of this crisis and putting families, communities, and small businesses first.”

Senator Murray has been working for months and pressing her Senate Republican colleagues to bring up robust legislation passed by the House—like the HEROES Act and HEROES 2.0—that more substantively addresses the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for small businesses. To that end, earlier today Senator Murray joined her colleagues in introducing the “HEROES Small Business Lifeline Act”— a comprehensive package of measures that would provide over $370 billion of support to the hardest-hit, most vulnerable small businesses, including minority-owned businesses and very small businesses that have been left behind in this pandemic, as well as similarly-impacted industries, such as restaurants and live venues. The bill is nearly identical to the small business provisions of HEROES 2.0, which passed the House of Representatives on October 1.