This is in response to a recent article in your paper focusing on my family farm and our involvement in the Payment Protection Program (PPP). Like millions of small businesses across the country and nearly 47,000 small businesses in Missouri, our family businesses applied for and received PPP loans to ensure our employees could remain employed and the business could pay expenses. These loans are allowable for members of Congress and were acquired in accordance to the provisions written into the CARES Act following guidance from the House Ethics Committee and through the same process, rules and restrictions as any other American applying for these loans.
In the face of the coronavirus, small businesses across the country have faced extraordinary uncertainty. Many have had to make heart-wrenching decisions such as laying off staff or even closing altogether. As small business owners, my husband and I took action to ensure our employees were protected during this uncertain time and are thankful for this opportunity.
Although the article implies a lack of support for transparency because I opposed Speaker Pelosi’s Coronavirus Oversight Commission, it fails to point out that I supported the three oversight commissions: the Congressional Oversight Commission, the Pandemic Response Accountability Commission and the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery. Further, the CARES Act authorizes a General Accountability Office (GAO) audit to oversee the proper implementation of these funding programs.
Currently, Congress and the Executive branch have eight bodies with a chartered responsibility of oversight over all the elements of the CARES Act. Unlike the bipartisan commissions established in the CARES Act, Speaker Pelosi’s proposal for a ninth commission would create a new, overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled commission, whose aim is to politicize this COVID-19 pandemic and attack the president.
News articles should be unbiased and share accurate facts from all sides. I am hopeful future articles will uphold this high standard of fairness and accuracy.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler represents Missouri's 4th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.