Daily Light report

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Congressman Ron Wright (R-Texas), whose district includes Ellis County, was away from Washington and was unable to attend the vote.

“After learning of the possibility of a roll call vote earlier this week, I consulted with my doctor on the logistics and safety of traveling back to Washington,” Wright said. “After much discussion and deliberation, we decided that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I should not travel at this time.”

Despite not being able to attend the vote, Wright expressed strong support for the legislation and said he will be submitting a “yes” vote for the Congressional Record.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and right now they are hurting,” Wright said. “It has been, and will continue to be, my top priority to help our small businesses keep the lights on and American workers on their payroll.”

The Paycheck Protection Program has issued more than 1.6 million loans to small business owners and saving tens of millions of jobs so far, but it exhausted all its funding in just 14 days. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act replenishes this fund by appropriating an additional $310 billion, ensuring more small business can cover the cost of payroll and other operating expenses.

This legislation also provides an additional $75 billion, on top of the $100 billion from the CARES Act, to hospitals and health care heroes who are fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.

“From the start, it has been vital that we supply our doctors and nurses with the necessary resources to keep us and them safe,” Wright said. “In order to ensure we can determine where COVID-19 cases are occurring and which areas can safely reopen, this legislation also provides $25 billion to expand testing. Like many Americans, I want to re-open our nation and jumpstart our record-breaking economy, but we need more testing before this can happen. This legislation will help get us there.

“Our nation has been through a lot over the past few months, but together we will overcome this pandemic and the United States will be stronger than ever. God Bless.”