Chairman Yarmuth on Passage of Historic Families & Workers-First Coronavirus Legislation
Washington, D.C.— Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement today after the House passed H.R. 748, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, with overwhelming bipartisan support:
“As our nation faces this ongoing health crisis and its impact on our economy, the American people need their federal government to lead and provide support. The bipartisan bill passed by the House today makes unprecedented investments in protecting the health of our families, workers, and communities, while also strengthening programs that will help stabilize our economy. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, ensuring that this critical funding is used as Congress intended is paramount. That is why this legislation includes important provisions that protect Congress’ power of the purse. This is major progress, but there is far more work ahead.”
When passed, this legislation will build on top of the swift action that House Democrats have already taken to move two critical pieces of coronavirus response legislation into law. Below are just a few of the numerous initiatives in this historic piece of legislation that will benefit American workers and families and strengthen our nation’s response:
- 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.
- $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:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: The bill includes $15.5 billion in additional funding for SNAP to ensure all Americans, including seniors and children receive the food they need. The bill includes $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs in order to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session.
- 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.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills.
- 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.