News from Representative Smucker
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IMPORTANT UPDATES from CONGRESSMAN SMUCKER

It is time for counties in our Commonwealth to reopen for business. The Governor has waited too long and our families and economy are suffering because of it. In order for businesses to open they must do so safely, by following social distancing and CDC guidelines. For the most up to date information on COVID-19, I encourage you to visit the dedicated page on my website. You can view the actions that Congress has taken, information for small business owners, economic relief payments information, and volunteer opportunities.


Reopen Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Wolf’s response to reopening our economy has lacked transparency and has been laced with questionable decisions. I am glad one portion of our district, southern York County was able to move into the ‘Yellow Phase’ on May 22, 2020. This was badly needed so that some people could return to work, for the economy to begin to recover and for small businesses to reopen.

The Governor’s decision to delay the reopening of Lancaster County until June 5, 2020 is another example of his unclear decision making. From the beginning, the Governor should have focused on targeting his response to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where individuals are at the greatest risk. Instead, he forged ahead with a widespread draconian shutdown and refused to work with our community leaders.

The federal government, though, has continued to help our seniors by providing needed federal funds to help long-term care facilities and nursing homes. The Department of Health and Human Services announced roughly $240 million will be provided to Pennsylvania to help these facilities in the fight against COVID-19.

This Friday, I joined Lancaster County officials and healthcare professionals for a countywide update on the COVID-19 response. 

While we follow the data and protect the vulnerable, we must also take safe steps to get our community back to work. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate shot up to over 15 percent for the month of April. In Lancaster County, approximately 54,000 individuals have applied for unemployment benefits but we know that unemployment figures do not capture all of those who are out of work, as they do not include those not seeking employment and those who may not have yet applied for unemployment benefits. The best way we can support these individuals is to allow them to get back to work safely.


Economic Impact Payments
For certain individuals who did not provide banking information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Economic Impact Payments (EIP) are being issued via prepaid debit card. These EIP Cards will have the same securities afforded to traditional bank account owners. The card will have access to services without incurring fees. For more information including FAQs on the EIP Cards, visit the US Department of Treasury website. 

To date, according to the most recent data from the IRS, 6,258,107 economic impact payments have already been made to Pennsylvanians, totaling nearly $11 billion. My office has received an large number of questions regarding the EIPs. For a list of frequently asked questions and answers visit the IRS dedicated Coronavirus webpage.


Helping our Small Businesses
Since the beginning of COVID-19, my foremost concern has been for the health and safety of all Americans. Over these last months, most businesses throughout our community have not been permitted to operate and it is largely the state government that has prevented them to do so. While at first this was necessary, it is clear that the time to open is here. It has been for several weeks. To help small businesses stay afloat throughout the uncertainty, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP continues to provide needed aid to our small business owners so they can stay in business and increased funding for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

As of last week, the PPP and the EIDL have provided over 168,000 Pennsylvania small businesses with more than $21 billion in support.

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On Thursday, the House passed legislation with my support to provide additional flexibility to the PPP and to small businesses across the country.

This program is supporting small businesses right here in our community. And I’m thankful that a number of reforms that I’ve been advocating for were included in the legislation. It’s critical that the support Congress has extended to small businesses is able to be used to benefit businesses across industries which have been seriously impacted by COVID-19. 

While this immediate support was needed to ensure our small businesses did not close, the added restrictions by Gov. Wolf has unfortunately caused some of our local businesses to shut their doors permanently, and permanently eliminate jobs.


Help for Our Farmers
Farmers throughout our country and district have continued to provide food and maintain our food supply. However, they have been negatively impacted by the reduced demand for food in certain sectors. The United States Department of Agriculture has introduced measures to help farmers that need relief.


Update from Washington
On May 20, 2020, Senator Pat Toomey joined me for a Telephone Town Hall focused on reopening our economy and the federal government’s response to COVID-19. You can listen to the full meeting below.

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On Thursday, the Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on the numerous steps President Trump’s Administration, including OSHA and CDC, are taking to assist businesses to operate safely as our nation responds to COVID-19. Click below to watch my questions. 

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For activities and educational opportunities to keep your kids engaged while at home, visit my website for a list of virtual tours of Washington, DC sights for you and your family to enjoy. 


Class of 2020
Whether you are graduating from high school or college, to all graduates in the class of 2020 congratulations! These circumstances were not how you wanted to graduate, but that does not diminish your hard work and success! Click the image below to watch my video message to the class of 2020. 

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Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and I want to share with anyone experiencing mental health challenges that you are not alone. There are resources available to you: Pennsylvania offers a crisis text line—by texting PA to 741-741, or you can dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—1-800-273-8255. While we observe Mental Health Awareness Month in May, it is always essential to be mindful of our mental health. 

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Here to Serve
If you have any questions or issues with any federal agency, please know that my office is here to assist you. You can call our district or Washington, DC offices for assistance or visit my website by clicking here for more assistance for any issue with a federal agency or department.

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter! To stay up-to-date on my work in the district and Washington, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out my YouTube page where there are 100+ videos, many of which are direct responses to your questions. 

Sincerely,


Lloyd Smucker
Member of Congress

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