[SEATTLE, WA] – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today announced her support for the CARES Act, the third COVID-19 relief package:
“Washington state is reeling from the spread of COVID-19, and I have worked tirelessly to ensure the federal government steps up and responds to this crisis.
This bill is an important step forward. It significantly expands unemployment insurance benefits for laid-off and furloughed workers, puts money directly into the pockets of struggling working people and families, provides critical relief in the form of emergency grants and forgivable loans to devastated small businesses and nonprofits, infuses cash into strained local and state governments and health care systems, increases the amounts of personal protective equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile, and supports struggling industries that do right by their employees.
It is not perfect and there is far more Congress must do to do to fully meet our obligation to our constituents. We need to get more money to our health care system, states and localities, guarantee testing and treatment for everyone, expand benefits to those that have been left out and protect the health and safety of people in the criminal justice and immigration detention systems. Congress must also conduct vigorous oversight of industry assistance to ensure taxpayer dollars are used to support workers, not to further inequality.
We are already at work on the next package to ensure it includes provisions we fought for but did not get this time. This is a crisis of epic proportions and we must continue to do everything we can to respond with the scale sufficient to meet the suffering of people across our country. I am proud to represent a district and a state with so much compassion and commitment, and I will continue to fight for all my constituents as we weather this together.”
In her capacity as CPC Co-Chair, Jayapal led the CPC in writing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to outline the CPC’s key priorities for the next legislative package, many of which are included in the final package.
The CARES Act includes:
- $150 Billion for a State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: The bill 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 Washington State will receive approximately $2.9 billion.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: The bill 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: The bill 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.
- $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: The bill 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.
- Worker-Centered Industry Assistance: The bill requires businesses receiving federal assistance to maintain existing employment levels to the extent possible and prohibits stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the federal government plus one year and restricts any increases to executive compensation for two years. The bill also provides direct payroll payments to keep millions of airline workers on the job and receiving paychecks, while also prohibiting airline companies from stock buybacks and dividends for the entire life of a federal grant, plus one year.
- $200 Billion for Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: The bill 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 Emergency Appropriations:
- Transit Agencies: The bill 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. Washington state will receive approximately $695 million under this program.
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: The bill 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 experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, Washington state will receive approximately $34 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: The bill supports childcare and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Washington state will receive approximately $ 58 million under this emergency appropriation.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): The bill provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Washington state will receive approximately $11 million.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: The bill 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 approximately $16.7 million under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: The bill 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 for Washington state is $12.7 million. In addition, states can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: The bill provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration.
This third package builds on two bills already signed into law:
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act to bolster the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security.
- $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus pending package – consisting entirely of new funds – to support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and provide loans for affected small businesses to lessen the economic blow of this public health emergency.
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