Curtis: “The House Needs to Return to Washington”

Curtis: “The House Needs to Return to Washington”

May 10,  2020

Washington, DC — Representative John Curtis (R-UT) released the following statement calling for the reopening of the House of Representatives. He argues the need to be back in session while taking all necessary precautions:

“Over the last few months my staff and I have been educating businesses impacted by COVID-19 on resources to ease their burdens, coordinating the return of American citizens safely from foreign countries, keeping constituents and government officials informed, and introducing and cosponsoring bills,” said Curtis. “However, the House needs to return to Washington—taking precautions such as masks, social distancing, and handwashing—to make any real, bipartisan progress on the plethora of bills to help the American people that I and others have introduced. Millions of hard-working Americans are safely working through this pandemic, certainly, Congress with its abundance of resources should be as well. You elected me to be your voice in Washington, and I urge House Democratic leadership to swiftly bring us back so we can work in our full capacity to help the American people.”

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Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Utah Delegation Advocates for Ski Industry with Bicameral, Bipartisan Letter

Utah Delegation Advocates for Ski Industry with Bicameral, Bipartisan Letter

May 9,  2020

Washington, DC — Representative John Curtis (R-UT) spearheaded a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza, requesting additional guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program that reflects the unique needs of seasonal employers, and particularly ski areas, within the state of Utah. The Congressman’s effort is supported by the entire bipartisan Utah Delegation, including Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Representative Ben McAdams (D-UT).

According to recent data, it is estimated that Utah’s ski industry supports more than 20,000 jobs and generates approximately $1.8 billion in economic activity each year. The large majority of these Utah businesses operate under private or family ownership.

“We write to stress that ski areas also face a “disparity” in terms of how they calculate employee retention for purposes of maximizing PPP forgiveness. As the CARES Act is currently understood, we have been told by local ski area businesses that they only stand to achieve approximately 20 percent PPP loan forgiveness—a significant “disparity” relative to other small businesses.

As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our local communities that rely on strong tourism and seasonal business will be among the most economically vulnerable. It is crucial that we take all the necessary steps to protect them.”

The full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza,

Thank for your efforts to provide critical and necessary support to America’s working families and small businesses during this exceptionally challenging time. As the administration continues to implement the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, we write to ask the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration to provide additional interim guidance that consider the unique needs of the winter seasonal employers within our state.

Utah is home to many of the nation’s most popular ski areas, which serve as the economic drivers for their surrounding communities. The large majority of these Utah businesses operate under private or family ownership. The economic impact of these seasonal businesses is wide-reaching, from supporting the hospitality industry to attracting visitors who generate significant commercial activity at local restaurants and shops. According to recent data, it is estimated that Utah’s ski industry supports more than 20,000 jobs and generates approximately $1.8 billion in economic activity each year.

We appreciate the Treasury Department’s recent effort to expand PPP loans for seasonal employers. On April 27, Treasury issued an interim rule to expand PPP loan amount sizes for summer seasonal businesses, adding an “alternative means” or “alternative base period” for calculating PPP loan amounts, allowing summer seasonal employers to consider their payroll from May 1 through September 15 to maximize the size of their PPP loans. In this interim rule, Treasury referred to an oversight in the CARES Act as a “disparity” relating to summer businesses.

We write to stress that ski areas also face a “disparity” in terms of how they calculate employee retention for purposes of maximizing PPP forgiveness. As the CARES Act is currently understood, we have been told by local ski area businesses that they only stand to achieve approximately 20 percent PPP loan forgiveness—a significant “disparity” relative to other small businesses.

We request that you please consider the ski industry’s urgent need for interpretative guidance. In short, allow these winter seasonal employers the opportunity to elect a similar 8-week “alternative base period” from 2019—as the Treasury Department characterized it in the April 27 guidance—to calculate the number of employees that must be retained for maximum loan forgiveness. By doing so, these winter seasonal employers could maintain a workforce size they would normally employ during this time of year and achieve closer to 80 or 90 percent PPP loan forgiveness, which would better equip them to weather this difficult situation and recover to employ their winter season employees later this year.

As the Treasury Department’s interim rule explained, your adoption of the May-September “alternative base period” for summer businesses “ensures that seasonal employers affected by the pandemic are treated even-handedly.” We simply ask for similar “even-handed” treatment as it relates to PPP loan forgiveness for winter seasonal employers like the 470 ski areas in the U.S.

As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our local communities that rely on strong tourism and seasonal business will be among the most economically vulnerable. It is crucial that we take all the necessary steps to protect them.

Thank you for your tremendous efforts to ensure PPP loans are usable for the ski industry, and thus directly help their employees financially support themselves and their families through this difficult time.

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Rep. Curtis Named to China Task Force

Rep. Curtis Named to China Task Force

May 9,  2020

Washington, DC — Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after being named to the newly-formed China Task Force. The Task Force will bring together select members from key committees to help reinforce Congressional efforts to counter current and emerging cross-jurisdictional threats from China. The Task Force was originally designed to be a joint effort with Democratic colleagues, but after delaying for more than a year, House Democratic leadership never launched the initiative.

“I am honored to be selected by Leader McCarthy to join the newly-formed China Task Force. The Task Force will study a wide range of issues such as disinformation campaigns, influence operations, economic threats, and competition for the development of advanced technology, ultimately creating policy recommendations for Congress. My time in the region has given me a unique understanding of the history, culture, and language which I will use as the China Task Force tackles these issues head-on,” said Curtis. “There is a need for a unified and bipartisan voice on these issues; I hope my Democratic colleagues will soon join us.”

Background

The Republican-led China Task Force will be chaired by Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX). House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also selected the following members to serve on the Task Force: Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), and Representatives Jim Banks (R-IN), Andy Barr (R-KY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), John Joyce (R-PA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Chris Stewart (R-UT), and Michael Waltz (R-FL).

The task force will focus on issues such as:

  • Operations targeting U.S. and foreign governments and civil society, including think tanks, business, and media outlets.
  • Export control regimes and foreign investment screening mechanisms in the United States, and efforts to coordinate and harmonize these regimes with partners.
  • Chinese Communist Party efforts to attain leadership positions and change norms at international organizations and standard-setting bodies.
  • Economic coercion of governments and businesses in the United States and partner countries, including through the monopolization of critical supply chains.
  • China’s role in the origin and spread of COVID-19.
  • Efforts to gain the technological advantage (in areas including 5G, AI, quantum computing, and other emerging technologies that may or may not have military applications).

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Curtis Introduces the “American Healthshare Plans Act” to Insure the Self-Employed, Their Teams, and Millions of Americans

Curtis Introduces the “American Healthshare Plans Act” to Insure the Self-Employed, Their Teams, and Millions of Americans

May 8,  2020

Washington, DC —  Representative John Curtis (R-UT) released the following statement after introducing the American Healthshare Plans Act. The bill would dramatically expand access to customized and affordable health care for millions of Americans. The bicameral bill is cosponsored by Reps. Jody Arrington (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) in the Senate.

“Our legislation would especially be a game-changer for Utah’s small business community by ensuring our hard-working business owners, their workforce, and their families have access to affordable health coverage,” said Curtis. “This also gives thousands of Utahns who filed unemployment claims over the past month the ability to obtain health care coverage in the event of them or a family member contracting COVID-19, while also allowing our front line workers, like grocery store clerks or UberEATS drivers, to purchase affordable health care coverage in the event that they contract the virus on the job.”

Statement of Support:

Derek B. Miller, President and CEO Salt Lake Chamber:

“The Salt Lake Chamber, and Chambers across the country, exist to speak for and support businesses. Making sure our workforce has access to quality health insurance for their employees is one of the most important issues for our membership and is a top priority for the Salt Lake Chamber. The need for organizations like ours to be able to provide and facilitate health insurance to our members, while important in the best circumstances, is even more important in light of our current economic challenges. The American Healthshare Plans Act of 2020 would create a new path for membership organizations to offer health insurance to its members outside of an employment relationship. This would allow us to put together health care plans that can meet the specific needs of our membership, and very importantly, allow our members to maintain stable health insurance as they transition between jobs, are self-employed, and as they establish new businesses and work to mitigate costs. The Salt Lake Chamber is very supportive of the American Healthshare Plans Act of 2020- now more than ever.”

Background

According to the US Department of the Treasury, almost a third of the country is self-employed but only 25 percent of that group is insured. The American Healthshare Plans Act would give these individuals, their employees, and their dependents access to customized and affordable health care coverage by:

  • Creating a new pathway for any membership organization to offer health insurance to its members, across state lines, regardless of an employment relationship
  • Allowing for the portability of health insurance between jobs or from job-to-job
  • Giving their members more benefit options, while prohibiting rate-setting discrimination based on health status or pre-existing condition

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Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Curtis Speaks at House Small Business Hearing: “Small Businesses Will Save Us”

Curtis Speaks at House Small Business Hearing: “Small Businesses Will Save Us”

April 27,  2020

Washington, DC — Representative John Curtis (R-UT), spoke at House Committee on Small Business hearing, highlighting the recently passed CARES Act and advocated for the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act. The Congressman will be voting for the legislation this afternoon.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Utah economy. As a matter of fact, they make up 90% of the businesses in my district. As a former small business owner, I have a soft spot in my heart for these courageous entrepreneurs who make constant sacrifices in order to grow our businesses and our economy. Businesses throughout my community need more help, and now. This bill we will vote on later today is critical to delivering resources to the parts of the country and economy that are currently on life support. I’m grateful to be here in Washington DC with my colleagues to vote for this legislation to help our small businesses and their employees.”

Background:

  • The recently passed CARES Act pumped billions of dollars into Utah’s economy, giving roughly 21,000 Utah businesses with under 500 employees immediate financing to help offset losses related to COVID-19.
  • Despite this, businesses and the more than 24,000 Utahns who filed unemployment claims over the past month need more help.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act increases funding by over $320 billion for the Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loan program and authorizes an additional $60 billion in funding for SBA’s disaster relief loan and emergency grant programs.

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Curtis, Neguse Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Support The Health Of Wildfire Emergency Response Teams During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Mitigate Future Fire Risk To Communities

Curtis, Neguse Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Support The Health Of Wildfire Emergency Response Teams During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Mitigate Future Fire Risk To Communities

April 20,  2020

Washington, DC — Congressman John Curtis, Deputy Republican Leader of the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement after introducing the Wildfire and Community Health Response Act of 2020 with Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO).

The bipartisan bill aims to support the health of firefighters and emergency response teams and mitigate the impact of wildfires on vulnerable communities by requiring a report to Congress outlining actions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect the respiratory health of local communities, and guard against future wildfire.

“As we address the COVID-19 pandemic, our land management agencies must ensure that wildland firefighters are healthy and ready to respond to the upcoming fire season, while also taking steps to minimize wildfire risk for the coming months,” said Congressman Curtis. “Our Wildfire and Community Health Response Act will require both the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to report on how they are simultaneously accomplishing these goals and protecting our communities from a pandemic and wildfire disaster happening back to back. I am glad to see the agencies are already taking steps to protect both firefighters and the land and I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration as well as my colleagues, such as Mr. Neguse, to protect our communities.”

The legislation directs the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to jointly report to Congress on their efforts during the pandemic to mitigate future wildfire risk through fuels reduction methods and identify the steps being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 among emergency response personnel. Additionally, the report shall offer recommendations from the Secretaries as to what Federal support is required to successfully support these activities.

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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