U.S. Congressman Tom Cole | E-Newsletter
WEEKLY UPDATE | April 21, 2020 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
U.S. Congressman Tom Cole
Due to its massive scale and severity, the COVID-19 pandemic is a natural disaster unlike any other our nation has encountered in modern history. While the unprecedented disruptions have been felt across the whole of society, small businesses have undoubtedly taken some of the hardest, fastest and most damaging economic hits. In doing their part to heed social distancing guidance and help slow the spread of this coronavirus, many businesses on Main Street have been forced to rethink their daily operations or close their doors completely, jeopardizing millions of American jobs. 
 
Update on the Paycheck Protection Program
In recent weeks during telephone town halls with constituents and virtual meetings with local chambers of commerce, I’ve heard firsthand about the challenges facing small business owners and workers in the Fourth District of Oklahoma due to COVID-19. When I hosted a call last week, I was grateful to have a special guest expert on the line. As the top Republican on the House Small Business Committee since 2015, Congressman Steve Chabot, along with members of his staff, helped provide information and answer questions about the federal resources available to small businesses during these uncertain times. Throughout the conversation, it became ever more apparent just how devastating and damaging this pandemic is for small business owners and their workers – and by no fault of their own. 

While I am proud that Congress delivered some much-needed support for small businesses, I am also baffled and disappointed that Democrats irresponsibly and needlessly allowed funding for the popular and effective Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to dry up last week – less than two weeks after rollout. Established by the CARES Act, this program allows small businesses to receive forgivable loans backed by the Small Business Administration to sustain their workforces and prevent layoffs. Since applications were first accepted on April 3, more than 35,500 Oklahoma businesses have already borrowed roughly $4.6 billion from the program to retain the jobs of tens of thousands of Oklahomans. 

Certainly, struggling small business job creators and workers need our support to stay afloat right now. To do just that, Republicans in both chambers of Congress remain ready and willing to generously replenish PPP funding. Thus far, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have unfortunately chosen to make a bad crisis even worse – first by allowing this funding to lapse and then shamefully using the critical nature of the situation as leverage to demand other things. While I remain hopeful that Congress will settle on a funding solution soon, it is unacceptable that Democrats have wasted precious days that many small businesses don’t have the luxury of weathering. Indeed, such a delay could cost millions their jobs and thousands their businesses. 

If you are a small business owner or worker, know that my office is here to help you get answers and keep you informed as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic. For additional information about the federal assistance and resources available to small businesses through the Small Business Administration, please visit the following page on my website: cole.house.gov/coronavirus/small-businesses

25 Years Later, We Remember 
It is an extraordinarily somber time for Oklahomans when we remember the despicable act of domestic terror that took place in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 – and doubly so this year as the anniversary took place amid a global pandemic. But the tragic event that took place 25 years ago ought to both guide us and build confidence that Oklahomans can and will face down this current crisis as well. For although the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was one of the darkest days our state has ever experienced, Oklahoma shone as a triumphant beacon of hope across the nation and around the world in the days and weeks that followed.

Like others who remember the tragedy, I will never forget where I was and what I was doing on April 19, 1995. For as long as I live, the memory of that fateful day will be permanently burned in my memory. At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, I was serving as Secretary of State to Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and was arriving at the state capitol building just at nine o’clock. I felt the tremble and wondered what it was as I walked toward my office. I learned in the following hours that something terrible had happened in downtown Oklahoma City – something that would change our lives and communities forever.

From that moment forward, I watched Oklahomans and Americans come together to mourn the 168 innocent lives lost and lend support where they could. I remember the bravery and strength displayed by first responders and the exceptional leadership of Governor Frank Keating, First Lady Cathy Keating, Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick and Congressman Frank Lucas. It was the start of the Oklahoma Standard that still guides the compassionate attitude and swift action of our communities in times of great crisis.

The scale of the coronavirus crisis is much bigger. We will face a loss of life many times greater than the Oklahoma City bombing. Moreover, we are dealing with a pandemic many times more disruptive than September 11, 2001. However, when confronted with a crisis, Oklahomans are remarkably adaptive, compassionate and capable. Not only do we mourn with each other, but we immediately mobilize to help. And together, we learn how to better prepare for future challenges, disasters and crises.

As we remember those we lost and honor those who responded so nobly, we ought to draw courage and strength from that first clear glimpse of the Oklahoma Standard that was on display 25 years ago. Even in our most dire and destructive hour, we ultimately overcame. While there are still difficult and uncertain days ahead with the spread of COVID-19, I know that Oklahomans will triumphantly and compassionately overcome this crisis, too.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary, remember those we lost and honor those who acted with courage and compassion, the Oklahoma congressional delegation together released a video over the weekend. Watch it HERE

Stay Informed 
While social distancing prevents us all from interacting in person, there are several ways I am aiming to keep you informed. I am regularly filming video updates for social media, hosting telephone town halls and participating in virtual meetings reaching Fourth District communities. In addition, I am keeping my website up to date on the latest federal actions taken and resources available in response to the disruptions caused by the spread of this coronavirus. You can also call my office at (405) 329-6500.

If you have additional questions or need assistance with another matter, my staff can help you with that, too. 


Sincerely,
Tom Cole
Member of Congress



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JOIN A TELEPHONE TOWN HALL
In case you missed it, last week I hosted a telephone town hall focused on the challenges facing small businesses as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help provide information and answer questions, I was grateful to have  House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Steve Chabot on the line. Listen to the discussion HERE

I will be hosting additional calls in the coming weeks. If you would like to participate in a future conversation, please sign up to be called HERE.

 
ATTENTION NEEDED
If you are a Social Security beneficiary or Supplemental Security Income recipient with qualifying dependents but are not normally required to file a tax return, your attention is needed. While economic impact payments will soon be arriving, you must take action by Wednesday, April 22, in order to receive the additional $500 per eligible child at the same time.

Please carefully review the information provided by the IRS HERE and swiftly take the advised action to receive the full benefits for which you are eligible.

  
OK-04 GIVING BACK
KFOR: Two Tinker Air Force Reservist nurses deploy to New York City area to help fight COVID-19 pandemic
Was very proud and encouraged to learn that two reservist nurses from the Fourth District's Tinker Air Force Base are currently serving in the New York City area, where they are helping provide medical care in the frontline fight against COVID-19. Lieutenant Colonel Esther Mitchell and Major Lisa Morris are joining more than 120 other Air Force Reserve medical personnel at New York City’s Javits Center. 
Read more

  
OK-04 RESOURCES
I will regularly be updating my website with new information and resources here: cole.house.gov/coronavirus 
 
MEDIA CENTER 
Yesterday, I joined KFOR News at 6 in the morning to discuss topics of ongoing concern related to COVID-19, including the need to replenish depleted funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and the path toward starting to safely reopen our communities. Listen to my full interview HERE
Last week, I joined KOCO News to discuss a variety of topics and concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the potential path toward safely reopening our communities and the rollout of economic relief delivered through the CARES Act. Watch HERE.  
Washington, DC Office
2207 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6165
Fax: (202) 225-3512
Ada Office
100 E. 13th Street, Suite 213
Ada, OK 74820
Phone: (580) 436-5375
Fax: (580) 436-5451
Lawton Office
711 SW D Avenue, Suite 201
Lawton, OK 73501
Phone: (580) 357-2131
Fax: (580) 357-7477
Norman Office
2424 Springer Drive, Suite 201
Norman, OK 73069
Phone: (405) 329-6500
Fax: (405) 321-7369
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