Third District Congressman Steve Womack told the House Small Business Committee Thursday the nation needs targeted relief for medical workers, hospitals, businesses and families suffering economically from the coronavirus.
During his comments in the Member Day Hearing on COVID-19 response and recovery, Womack added the relief packages must be done in a responsible way fiscally. He is the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee.
"We have to be targeted, it has to be temporary, and it must be transparent," Womack said. "May I remind my colleagues that before anyone had heard of COVID-19, this nation was on track to overspend itself by more than a trillion dollars. I believe it is important to address the needs of our nation, but I also believe it has to be done in a very responsible way."
Here is the transcript of his remarks:
"Acting Chairman Evans and Ranking Member Chabot, thank you for your leadership and for holding this hearing.
I come today with my Ranking Member of the Budget Committee hat on.
There is no doubt that the coronavirus is a challenge unlike anything we have faced before. I think we would all agree that this pandemic has impacted every facet of life and our economy.
Our response, just as this situation, has been unprecedented. We acted swiftly to help families and businesses across the nation. It was the right thing to do.
Between the CARES Act, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations legislation, and Families First Coronavirus Response Act — we delivered immediate relief to support medical workers and hospitals, help families and workers, and stabilize the economy to the best of our ability.
With no template on how to navigate these times, the goal was to make resources immediately available — and we did.
There is no doubt that these efforts delivered assistance. For example — Arkansas alone saw more than 21,000 PPP loans administered, totaling $2.7 billion, to help small businesses in Arkansas and keep workers on payrolls.
However, our continued response must be focused on doing what is necessary, not what is wanted. We must ensure our efforts are targeted to help the needy, not prop up the opportunistic.
Discussions about another high-dollar legislative package are already underway, even though the full effects of this crisis nor the impact of the bills we have already signed into law are fully known.
May I remind my colleagues that before anyone had heard of COVID-19, this nation was on track to overspend itself by more than a trillion dollars. I believe it is important to address the needs of our nation, but I also believe it has to be done in a very responsible way.
We have to be targeted, it has to be temporary, and it must be transparent. The insatiable appetite to throw a lot more money at the problem must be constrained.
I yield back the balance of my time."