WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“We are living through truly challenging times. COVID-19 is a grave threat to our nation. The United States now has the most COVID-19 cases in the world. Our country has had to shut down schools, businesses and places of worship to mitigate its spread. These actions, backed by science, are needed to save lives. These vital measures have also had devastating consequences for our economy. The Senate-originated Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act is designed to provide relief to individuals and businesses hurt by this crisis. I welcome passage of this Senate bill by the House, but it is not enough.
The legislation does have many good provisions. It provides resources for hospitals and health systems; expands unemployment insurance benefits for a diverse array of workers; offers relief for small businesses; increases funding to states, cities and school districts; and commits billions toward developing widely available treatments. I commend Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer for making this Senate bill much better than the original version.
Given the scale of the crisis, however, a one-time stimulus check to Americans is not enough. This virus will not disappear in a few weeks or a few months, no matter what the President believes. People have already altered their behavior to avoid contracting coronavirus. That behavior change has slowed, and will continue to slow, our economy and the worldwide economy until a vaccine or drug therapy is developed. What we need is recurring financial assistance to Americans until a cure becomes available.
I believe we will soon need another stimulus bill. I look forward to such a bill being originated in the House.
We have a long road ahead of us, but we must remain resolute in our efforts to work together and help each other. We are in this together, and together we will prevail.”
Here are just a few of the numerous initiatives in the CARES Act:
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that California will receive approximately $15.3 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.
- More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
- Transit Agencies: Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented. This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. California will receive $3.7 billion under this program.
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, our state will receive $237 million. In addition, the bill provides an additional $2 billion for these grants that will be allocated by HUD to the most hard-pressed areas.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports child care and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Our state will receive $ 347 million under this emergency appropriation.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Our state will receive $74 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. Our state will receive $96 Million under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and . Tribal Grants Minimum Awards to help agencies cope with the public health emergency. The minimum award Los Angele is $20 million. In addition, states can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration. Our state will receive $36 million for these purposes.
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