U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., went to the Senate floor Tuesday to plead the case of small business owners and their employees struggling under the plight of the coronavirus crisis.
As the Senate continues to debate the details of a “phase 3” legislative package to help provide financial assistance, Enzi said the time for gamesmanship was long over, calling on the Senate to end any delay and to get the bill passed right away.
“The virus has closed businesses which in turn lay off employees,” Enzi said. “It has closed schools. It has changed every aspect of our daily lives - and it has left people isolated. It has put a strain on health care workers and first responders. It has done it in what was a strong and growing economy. Why isn’t there more concern for the employees out of work? Why haven’t we already done at least the parts of this bill that give non-government employees some comfort and hope?”
Enzi specifically said he was disappointed that the minority party in the Senate was holding up passage of the bill in order to demand it include provisions that have nothing to do with the coronavirus. The priority of the bill, according to Enzi, should focus on protections for small businesses and their employees.
“My colleagues across the aisle are using this process to forward their agenda even for issues unrelated to this crisis,” Enzi said. “We are not doing climate change as part of this emergency bill. Everything should have a direct connection to the coronavirus. Rome is burning and Congress is fiddling!”
Unlike government employees, Enzi noted that employees in the private sector do not have any confidence in their next paycheck in this new turmoil.
“Many have been laid off,” Enzi said. “They have lost their paycheck. They have lost their health benefits. The schools and daycare have closed. Their world has been upended. They went from a bright future to unemployed in a couple of weeks. Congress can’t even imagine their dilemma. Congress is immune economically. A small business doesn’t exist for the government. It exists in spite of the government.”Enzi said the “phase 3” bill would provide the financial assistance needed so that businesses could stay open and keep their employees. Enzi also noted that the bill would include direct payments for taxpayers, along with billions of dollars for state and local governments, hospitals, veterans, schools, airports, public transportation and others sectors.