By Jessica Mathews/

Coronavirus relief and efforts to extend the federal Paycheck Protection Program are the latest topics of focus in the 8th District Congressional race.

Republican candidate Paul Junge of Brighton and Incumbent Democrat Elissa Slotkin recently held the first of three scheduled debates.

Junge’s campaign issued a press release Friday stating that House Republicans are trying to bring a clean extension of the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP, which has helped thousands of Michigan businesses keep their doors open during the Coronavirus pandemic. The release states that Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler from Washington has started the process of filing a discharge petition - a formal resolution that would allow for expedited consideration of a bill to distribute the remaining $134 (B) billion in current PPP reserves after the program expired on August 8th. If 218 members sign on, the House would be compelled to bring a vote to the floor. Junge said Congresswoman Slotkin claimed to be bi-partisan during their debate but if she truly believes in putting country before party, she would join Republicans in this bi-partisan effort.

Slotkin’s Senior Adviser for Communications Gordon Trowbridge provided the following response to WHMI:

“Unfortunately, Mr. Junge continues to make disingenuous claims. Last week, Congresswoman Slotkin joined 25 Republican colleagues to challenge leaders in the House, Senate and White House, including leadership of her own party, to take up the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus framework for COVID-19 relief. She participated in a bipartisan press conference to endorse the framework, which includes $245 billion to extend the PPP program and provide additional flexibility to PPP recipients. The bipartisan pressure from 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans of the Problem Solvers Caucus prompted Speaker Pelosi just yesterday to reverse course and announce her plans to put a compromise bill on the floor of the House. This is exactly the type of bipartisan work that Congresswoman Slotkin is known for, and it offers critical relief for 8th District families far beyond what the discharge petition would provide, including additional stimulus payments to families and legal reforms that would protect small businesses and the safety of workers. Rep Slotkin will continue working to build momentum for bipartisan COVID-19 relief that she and fellow members of the Problem Solvers Caucus helped initiate.”