by Murrel Bland
The federal government had to take bold action because of the financial hardship that the coronavirus pandemic caused.
At least that was the message from U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., when she spoke to the Congressional Forum, via teleconference, at Children’s Mercy Park, Friday, Sept. 17. She had originally planned to appear in person, but opted for a teleconference because of a family emergency.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which is also called the COVID-19 stimulus package or simply the American Rescue Plan, is estimated to cost $1.9 trillion.
Part of the stimulus plan was the Paycheck Protection Plan; employers affected by the pandemic could apply for loans which, if conditions were met, could be forgiven. Banks report this as most helpful, particularly for restaurants.
Rep. Davids said she supports a new stimulus funding for restaurants; she said several restaurants, particularly smaller independent operations, were left out.
Rep. Davids was asked about her feelings about Congressional redistricting. She said there should have been more notice given about public meetings concerning redistricting. There were 14 meetings across the state, including one at Kansas City Kansas Community College and another in Johnson County.
Republican political operatives have suggested that Wyandotte County and Johnson County be separated. This would dilute Rep. Davids’ Democrat base. She lives in Roeland Park, which is in Johnson County.
Rep. Davids already has potential Republican opposition; Amanda Adkins, who lost to Rep. Davids in 2020, has announced she will run again.
Forum members expressed concern about excessive government spending. Joe Vaught, a commercial real estate agent, warned about borrowing more money than the federal government can repay. Bill Schmidt, a certified public accountant, said that government borrowing should be limited to the value of the gross national product.
Paul Bush, a banker with First State Bank, said he was concerned about the proposal that would require banks to report most all banking transactions of account holders. This would be an invasion of personal privacy, he said. Rep. Davids said she would look into the matter.
The Congressional Forum is a function of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.