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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., joined “Your World with Neil Cavuto” Wednesday to discuss the “Phase 3.5” coronavirus aid bill, which would replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) meant to aid small businesses struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is going to pass [the House] tomorrow overwhelmingly. And look, the paycheck protection program has been incredibly successful, has been a lifeline to millions of workers out there,” Scalise said. “And I know Speaker Pelosi played some games with it. I think, frankly, she got shamed into realizing you can’t play games with this program that’s a lifeline to our small businesses and the millions of people that they employ.”
The Senate on Tuesday passed the $484 billion package, which would also provide hospitals with another $75 billion and implement a nationwide virus testing program to facilitate reopening the economy.
“You can’t just keep thinking you can shut the economy down for another month or two. You saw what happened in the energy industry. You see what’s happening in the ag[riculture] industry,” Scalise said. “You know, major industries in this country on the verge of collapse. If we keep doing this because supply chains are breaking down, they weren’t built to have an entire economy shut down for months on end.”
“We need to get smarter about social distancing and wash our hands, things like that,” Scalise added. “But people have to start getting back to work and getting the economy going again.”
The congressman also backed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told Fox News earlier Wednesday that he has no plans of passing legislation to provide additional federal funding to state and local governments who he said are trying to “take advantage” the coronavirus crisis to get help with their ballooning deficits.
“Don’t try to roll in your previous crisis that you created because of high taxes and really bad policies that were running, literally running businesses and families out of your state,” Scalise said. “And we know those states, by the way, where that was happening.”
Fox News’ Gregg Re and Yael Halon contributed to this report.