Funding from the American Rescue Plan can be used to ensure that no one passes up an opportunity to take a job
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congresswoman Elaine Luria today sent a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam calling on his administration to use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to step up enforcement of unemployment claims. As many small businesses struggle to find employees, Congresswoman Luria is proposing solutions to ensure help goes to those who need it and that no one in a position to accept a job turns one down.
“The Hampton Roads hospitality industry is an economic engine for our region and a crucial driver for the Commonwealth’s tourism economy,” Congresswoman Luria said in the letter. “I have repeatedly heard from small business owners that they are unable to fill vacant positions. As we move into the summer season, we must help those who need it while ensuring that no one passes up an opportunity to take a job.”
A copy of the letter to Governor Northam can be found here.
Last week, Governor Northam announced $20 million in funding to expand the Virginia Employment Commission’s (VEC) ability to process unemployment insurance claims, including 300 adjudication staffers. Congresswoman Luria is concerned that adjudication will not address the concerns of small business owners and that more is needed to enforce existing unemployment regulations.
In March, Congresswoman Luria voted for the American Rescue Plan, which provided payments of up to $1,400 for working individuals and an additional $1,400 per dependent, $2.2 billion to help Virginia schools open safely and make up for lost learning time, a $600 tax cut per month for 138,000 children in Virginia’s Second Congressional District through the expanded Child Tax Credit, and $790 million for cities, counties, and colleges in Hampton Roads. Included in the $1.9 trillion economic recovery package was $15 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loan, to help people and businesses who applied for loans in 2020 but did not receive them, and $28 billion through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
As a former small business owner, Congresswoman Elaine Luria has been an advocate for locally-owned small businesses during the economic crisis. Previously, she voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which replenished the PPP. Although the PPP was a necessary step to assist small business owners, it was not perfect, which is why the Congresswoman advocated for bipartisan initiatives to allow business owners to use PPP loans over longer time periods, to provide flexibility for businesses struggling to meet the SBA’s requirement that 75 percent of loan proceeds go toward payroll costs, and to increase the SBA’s transparency.