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Congressman Jason Smith

Congressman Jason Smith

The Speaker’s Refusal to Return

After spending weeks shutdown to help slow the spread of the virus, it’s time to restart our economy and allow people to return to work. This has been a difficult time for everyone, but especially here in southern Missouri where people just want to be allowed to work hard, make a living, and provide for their families. I have spoken with dozens of our local leaders from across southern Missouri about their plans to open up, and I also let President Trump know that we are ready and willing to lead the nation’s reopening efforts. 

Our country was founded on the ideas of personal choice and liberty. That’s why it’s so important to continue to arm individuals with accurate information to make the best decisions for their families and livelihood. I, like President Trump, know that Americans make their own decisions and don’t need the heavy hand of government to control their lives. We don’t look to our leaders for control, we look to our leaders for steady guidance. 

Unfortunately, those looking to Speaker Pelosi for steady leadership at this critical time can’t find any. That’s because while all other leaders at the federal, state, and local levels are working on getting the economy opened up so people can go back to work, Nancy Pelosi has decided to stay home and do nothing.

On May 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate are supposed to come back into session to show the world that the U.S. Congress can safely get back to work. While the Republican-controlled Senate is correctly returning to work, the Nancy Pelosi-led House will continue to be missing in action at this critical turning point in our war on the invisible enemy. Reopening our economy will take tons of effort. We need to roll back regulations to both incentivize job creation at a historic level and ease the burden of big government on Main Street businesses and middle-class families just trying to survive. Yet, despite the challenges we are facing, Speaker Pelosi decided it’s best to keep her half of Congress closed. 

At the same time, President Trump and his administration have been working around the clock to help American families across the country, but especially here in rural Missouri. At the beginning of the outbreak, he quickly approved a major disaster declaration for Missouri at the Governor’s request. This decision not only helped protect Missourians’ health and safety but made critical assistance immediately available to state and local leaders. So far, his administration has assisted over 46,000 small businesses in Missouri to the tune of $7.5 billion, allowing family businesses to stay afloat and take care of their workers during these difficult times. While the President and his administration were working tirelessly to soften the blow from the coronavirus, Nancy Pelosi was laughing it up with late-night television hosts in the kitchen of her California mansion. 

Meanwhile, I continue to work with the Trump Administration to get rural Missouri the resources we need and deserve. I have spoken with both the Small Businesses Administration (SBA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about ways they can further support rural health care providers and our area hospitals. Both the SBA and HHS have been very responsive to my concerns. Whether it is allowing our county hospitals to qualify for new financial assistance or expanding telehealth services to allow care to be administered over the phone, the Trump Administration’s willingness to actually listen is making a big difference for southern Missourians. 

This targeted relief is a far cry from the one-size-fits-all approach of big government from previous administrations, and I’m committed to ensuring that our rural areas are not left behind in the government’s response. Sadly, while I have been focused on helping my friends and neighbors in southern Missouri, Speaker Pelosi has just been focused on politics. 

At this point, none of us should be surprised that Nancy Pelosi is playing politics with the coronavirus and the U.S. economy. Since the beginning of the outbreak, she’s consistently put her liberal agenda ahead of the American people. She delayed for days negotiations on legislation to help small businesses keep their workers paid in an attempt to bully in her sweeping liberal reforms, like the Green New Deal, federalizing local elections, and emission standards for airlines. Then, when the fund to help local businesses ran dry, Speaker Pelosi wasted two weeks trying to force American taxpayers to pick up the tab for every state running massive deficits before the pandemic began. While she’s played political games, the American people have suffered as countless small businesses—the lifeblood of the country’s economy—have been forced to remain closed indefinitely, greatly increasing the risk they’ll never open their doors again. 

However, unlike those small businesses, Speaker Pelosi has the option to reopen and allow the U.S. House of Representatives to get back to work. She’s just choosing not to.