BY Scott Benjamin

 

Originally seen on Connecticut Patch

GOP congressional hopeful says Trump tax cut should be continued even though deficit is projected to grow from stimulus to address pandemic

Republican congressional hopeful David X. Sullivan says the Democratic U.S. House majority has stymied efforts to help revive small businesses that have been forced to close operations during the pandemic. Sullivan, a retired Assistant U.S. Attorney and the apparent front-runner for the GOP nomination in the Fifth District, criticized incumbent Democrat Jahana Hayes of Wolcott and the rest of her caucus for impeding approval of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses by arguing for spending on other important components that could be ratified in smaller, separate bills a short time later. “You can’t order businesses across the district, state and nation to close – and then refuse them the money they need to help afford the losses that you created,” he stated in a news release. Sullivan, who lives in New Fairfield, added that the Democrats are “doing nothing to allocate urgently needed money to supplement the oversubscribed and already depleted SBA [Small Business Administration] emergency loan program.” The New York Times reported that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business. has stated that “700,000 small-business applications are in limbo and no new loans will be made until the game of chicken in Congress ends and additional money is approved. Inexcusable.” The initial funding was provided in the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package that was approved on March 27. In a phone interview, Sullivan said that the Democrats are playing a “dangerous political game” by insisting that that funds for hospitals, food-stamp recipients and state and local governments be included in the assistance for the small businesses. He emphasized Congress needs “to help” the hospitals, food-stamp recipients and state and local governments, but since the funds for small businesses that were approved in the stimulus package are depleted, immediate action is needed to replenish them. He said that separate bills can be approved in the coming weeks to address those other areas. Sullivan said that after one segment is completed Congress could promptly “move on to the next” segment. The Washington Post reported on April 20 that it appeared that House and Senate leaders were nearing an agreement. In a prepared statement, Barbara Ellis, who is the campaign manager for Hayes’s bid for a second term, wrote, “Congresswoman Hayes unequivocally supports adding more money to the PPP program and is working with her colleagues to close the gaps that were revealed during the initial implementation. The original funds were exhausted by many large chains with established banking relationships and infrastructure, before local small businesses could even apply. It is very important to the congresswoman that things like this are corrected before more funds are replenished, so the resources can get to the businesses that need it most.” Additionally, Sullivan objected to the U..S. House Democrats placing “pork” in the March 27 stimulus package, including funds for the Public Broadcast System and the National Endowment For The Arts. He said this underscores the call years ago by former Republican President Ronald Reagan for the installation of a presidential line-item veto, a power which the governors hold in a number of states, including Connecticut. Sullivan criticized Hayes, who was initially elected in 2018, for being absent from Congress on March 27 when the U.S. House voted on the stimulus package to address the pandemic. It was a “dereliction of duty” he said, adding that it is “incumbent” for Hayes to let her constituents know “why she missed her vote.” There appears to be “no accountability,” said Sullivan. CT Mirror has reported that the other four Connecticut members of the U.S. House drove from Connecticut to Washington and voted on the stimulus package March 27 and Hayes “did not make the trip.” In the prepared statement, Ellis wrote, “She has explained the CARES Act vote multiple times: it was an agreed upon bipartisan voice vote, which means the yeas and nays were not going to be called. She was available to take a roll call vote had it actually happened. She did not miss the vote. ” Ellis added, “Partisan mud-slinging is always counterproductive and especially unacceptable at a time like this. While the Congresswoman is aware that several candidates are busying themselves with campaigns against her, she is actually working. Her office is singularly focused on helping everyone in the district as much as they can during this critical time.” Hayes’ congressional office distributed a news release on April 16 reporting that the stimulus package would provide collectively $42,190,987 to the universities and colleges in the district. Sullivan said he gives “great credit” to Trump for his leadership during the pandemic. He said that the president has been “very responsive” and “out front,” noting that as early as January 31 he had banned travel with China to address the pending crisis. However, The New York Times, based on dozens of interviews with current and former administration officials and e-mail messages, has reported that: “public health often had to compete with economic and political considerations in internal debates slowing the path toward belated decisions to seek more money from Congress, obtain necessary supplies, address short falls in testing and ultimately move to keep much of the nation at home.” Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz has written that as a result of the current environment, “It’s a virtual terrain that may ultimately produce a referendum on the incumbent based largely on his handling of the pandemic.” A CBS News poll released on February 23, about three weeks before restaurant dining areas were closed in many states, reported that 65 percent of the voters surveyed thought that Trump either “definitely” or “probably will” win a second term. However, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that was distributed on April 18 indicated that 52 percent of the people surveyed disapproved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic and 44 percent approved. When asked about Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D-Greenwich) response to pandemic, Sullivan said that Lamont is “a nice man” and it would be “wise for him to listen to the health care professionals.” He added that now is not a time to be partisan. Regarding the potential fiscal impact from the pandemic, the federal budget deficit grew when former Democratic President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package in February 2009 following the financial crisis and the onset of the Great Recession. Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson: stated in 2018 that based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) figures it would take $1 billion per year over about a decade in spending cuts/tax increases to achieve a balanced budget. The last balanced federal budget was submitted on October 1, 2000 – nearly 20 years ago. Samuelson wrote in 2019 that the CBO had reported that from 2020 through 2029, partly due to the 2017 Trump tax reform, the federal budget deficit would increase by $12.2 trillion, which was about $1 trillion more than the projection that it had made just three months earlier. Senior Contributor Chuck Jones wrote in Forbes this last February that the budget deficit was $585 billion in the last year that Obama was in office and was projected to exceed $1 trillion under Trump in 2020. If the president and Congress have just approved $2.2 trillion in stimulus and further steps may have to be taken to further address the pandemic, should the remainder of the Trump tax reform be canceled? Sullivan said, “No, I don’t think so.” He added that “high taxes is not the way” to revive the economy. Sullivan said that under Trump’s tax reform the unemployment rate had reached its lowest point in more than 50 years and the country was in the longest economic expansion in its 244-year history. He said if apparent Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is elected it will take “beyond a decade” to recover economically from the pandemic . Locally, Sullivan said Connecticut needs to increase its manufacturing job base. Rich DuPont – who two years ago sought the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District and is an advanced manufacturing consultant and owner of Resource Development Associates in Watertown – told Patch.com in January that after Lamont appointed former aerospace executive Colin Cooper as the state’s first Chief Manufacturing Officer there is much more collaboration on job growth between the state Departments of Labor, Education and Economic & Community Development. DuPont said at the time that advanced manufacturing was at the highest point that he had seen it in 20 years. That apparently was due, at least in part, to the growing national economy and the long-term commitments made recently to keep the three major defense manufacturers – Electric Boat in Groton, Igor Sikorsky in Stratford and Francis Pratt & Amos Whitney in East Hartford – in Connecticut. DuPont also said tat that time hat he is also encouraged by the initial efforts of the commission on work force issues that Lamont has appointed. It is being chaired by Garrett Moran of Greenwich, a former Wall Street executive and the former chairman of Year Up, a program geared toward job hands-on skills development for young adults. The 24-member commission is expected to distribute a report by the end of the year. In February 2018, about a month after he formally declared his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Lamont said, “A degree from a technical high school or a community college in advanced manufacturing will get you an initial higher paying job than if you had a degree in Sociology from Yale.” On another topic, Sullivan said it appears that Hayes’ constituent service has been “subpar.” He said in nearly 10 months that he has been campaigning, there have been voters in the Fifth District have told him that Hayes has “not returned their phone calls.” Sullivan added that he also has spoken to “elected officials that have not heard from her” since she took office last year in the district, which stretches across 41 municipalities from Newtown to Salisbury. Ellis wrote in the prepared statement that Hayes “remains proud of the work her office is doing and the data supports their efforts, having closed over 500 cases in the last year. Mobile casework visited every town in the district and were on track to double those efforts before this pandemic struck. Finally, her office continues to reach out to stakeholders and local elected officials. They recently convened a conference call in which all Mayors and First Select persons of all 41 towns were invited to join. ” Sullivan, who has announced a raft of endorsements over the recent months, said that he expects to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot at the May convention, which may be held electronically. He said that he hopes to avoid an August 11 primary. He said he has a “cordial and friendly” rapport with the three other GOP contenders – Ruben Rodriguez of Waterbury, a leader on issues related to the Puerto Ricans; Robert Hyde of Simsbury, a businessman and lobbyist; and Ryan Meehan of Litchfield, a former business executive and military combat veteran. Through March 31, Sullivan had by far raised the most money of the GOP contenders. He was at $136,055. Hyde had raised $24,978, Meehan $22,341 and Rodriguez $3,782. However, through March 31, Hayes ,a former national teacher of the year, had garnered $1,078,462 in contributions. The district has elected nine congressmen since the 1972 campaign. A Democrat has won each election since 2006, partly because they have posted large pluralities in the five largest cities – Waterbury, Danbury, New Britain, Meriden and Torrington.

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