House Democrats back Gov. Wolf’s business support plan, demand more help for renters facing eviction amid current COVID-19 surge

HARRISBURG, Dec. 23 – House Democratic leaders pledged support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to transfer $145 million in funds to directly help businesses across the state hit hard by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also renewing their call to support families facing eviction. This as Republicans redirected $108 million in CARES Act money intended to help renters and homeowners to instead offset costs from the Department of Corrections.

“Since before this terrible pandemic started, we’ve been fighting to help people in our communities, including small businesses and the people who work at and rely on those businesses. So, today’s announcement from the governor is definitely welcome,” Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Delaware/Phila., said. “But we know that businesses can’t succeed without customers, and people who are forced to put most of their income into housing expenses can’t afford to be customers. A rising tide should lift all boats, so House Democrats are also committed to ensuring that money is made available as soon as possible to help those struggling to pay their rent. We cannot leave them behind.”

“We’ve been telling people they can save lives and save local businesses by staying home and ordering in, but you can’t deliver a meal to someone who doesn’t have a home address,” House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, D-Phila., said. “The governor has the right idea, but it’s time to restore the federal dollars the Republicans took from the program designed to help renters, and even to expand things further by helping homeowners in debt and small ‘Mom & Pop’ landlords. The virus won’t be here forever, but people will always deserve fair treatment.”

“We can and should do more for Main Street businesses as they are doing their part to help keep us all safe,” House Appropriations Committee Democratic Chairman Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, said. “We stand with the governor in supporting small businesses, but we’re calling on everyone to work together and focus on what is most important – supporting Pennsylvanians through the remainder of this crisis.”

The lawmakers noted they plan to offer legislation to overturn the Republican transfer of housing funding into the state’s prisons budget, and also to guarantee future federal funding for renters, homeowners and small landlords will be distributed as quickly as possible to the people who need it the most.