Vulnerable Dem Rep.  Houlahan touts PPP that helped husband's business, says inflation could be worse

Vulnerable Dem Rep. Houlahan touts PPP that helped husband’s business, says inflation could be worse

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., said historic US inflation would be worse today without the Paycheck Protection Program that benefited her family and the American Rescue Plan, which many economists have blamed for sparking the economic crisis in the first place.

During a virtual event last week, Houlahan was asked to address the “pocketbook issues” that Americans are facing today and what she thinks should be done to lower inflation.

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“I think this is the resounding issue of our time right now,” Houlahan responded. “We have come into a remarkable crucible of challenges that have happened over the last few years.

“And they’ve come in the form of an epidemic, they’ve come in the form of a global conflict in places like Ukraine, and all of those things have sort of collided into what I would certainly hope is once-in-a -lifetime stressors on the economy.”

Chrissy Houlahan

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., said during a recent campaign event that if it weren’t for the American Rescue Plan and the Paycheck Protection Plan, inflation would be much higher, contradicting Obama economists. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“I think we would be in a very, very much more difficult place had we not responded with things like the American Rescue Plan that contains things like the Paycheck Protection Program and help for our schools and our first responders, as an example,” she said.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was actually a part of the CARES Act passed during the Trump administration, which provided loans to small businesses struggling to pay employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One recipient of those loans included B Lab, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization co-founded by Houlahan’s husband, Bart Houlahan, who sits on the board of directors.

Rep.  Chrissy Houlahan

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan talks with Reading Mayor Eddie Moran at the Reading Public Library Main Branch on South 5th Street in Reading, Pa., Jan. 31, 2022. (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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B Lab received over $2.8 million in PPP money between the first round of loans in April 2020 and the second round of loans in March 2021, according to ProPublica’s tracker.

Both loans and their increased interest were eventually forgiven.

Houlahan’s office did not immediately respond to FOX Business’s request for comment.

The congresswoman’s claim that inflation would be worse without the American Rescue Plan (ARP) also challenges many economists, including former Obama administration economic advisers who argue the $1.9 trillion bill that sent stimulus checks to most Americans overstimulated the economy.

The ARP, which was billed as emergency relief, ended up funding many green infrastructure and social justice projects that had nothing to do with addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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President Joe Biden

President Biden signs the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House March 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

After Democrats passed the bill in March 2021 without any Republican support, Houlahan said criticism of the bill’s size was “fair.”

“There’s this narrative of, ‘Oh, this isn’t COVID relief’, or ‘Some small part of it went to the disease.’ Fair enough,” she said at the time, Politico reported. “But the consequences of this pandemic have just been so expansive that the response to it has to be, too.”

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Houlahan is facing a tight race in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, where she will face off against Republican nominee Guy Ciarrocchi this November.

In March, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added Houlahan to its Frontline program for vulnerable incumbents.

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