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[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today issued the following statement after voting in favor of the $480 billion interim COVID-19 relief package. The bill has been passed by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives and heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“In just a few days, we will have lost as many American lives to COVID-19 as we lost during the Vietnam War. By the end of this week, over 27 million Americans will have lost their jobs due to COVID, and a substantial number will have lost health insurance. Many in my district are in their second or even third month without a paycheck and the vast majority have not even been able to receive any economic relief, while bills pile up and another rent day approaches.

My constituents are desperate for help. I voted for this bill because Democrats took an insufficient Republican bill and made it better—but this package is so far from sufficient.  It does too little to respond to the public health emergency and stop the economic free fall. Every minute we do not act is another death, another family devastated, another business shuttered. 

The American people are looking to us for moral leadership and immediate relief that recognizes and responds to the hopelessness across the country. We must immediately work on a bold CARES 2 package that meets the scale of this crisis and take unprecedented measures to save lives and livelihoods.

CARES 2 must include—as experts agree—a bold paycheck guarantee that stops mass unemployment and delivers real funding to businesses and nonprofits of all sizes, as well as struggling state and local governments that are also beginning to lay off workers. It must include an essential workers package for the heroes and sheroes on the frontlines who are still working so we can stay home. And it must contain an expanded testing, contact tracing and isolation plan so we can continue to beat this virus.

We are running out of time. We do not get do-overs. We can and must do better.”

The bill provides $320 billion for the U.S Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with $60 billion set aside for smaller lenders, including $30 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, credit unions and other community-based lenders with assets of less than $10 billion.

The bill also provides an additional:

  • $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program;
  • $10 billion for the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Grant program;
  • $75 billion to reimburse hospitals and other health care providers, which can be used for desperately needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other expenses related to COVID-19; and,
  • $25 Billion for COVID-19 testing, including $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and Tribes.

The bill also requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to develop a federal plan for ramping up domestic COVID-19 testing.

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