Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the U.S Senate in passing an interim emergency coronavirus relief package. Following the passage of the package, Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
Once again, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi, and their colleagues in the Democratic caucus have taken a deficient proposal introduced by Republican congressional leaders and secured much-needed—if still insufficient—support to those on the front lines of this crisis. The original Republican proposal appallingly left out funding for frontline health care workers and hospitals; did not fund virus testing, which is necessary to reopen the economy; and would have done little to help the most vulnerable small businesses. Thanks to the leadership of Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, hospitals and other health care providers will receive an additional $75 billion; an additional $25 billion will be made available for additional testing and tracing; and smaller lenders that can best reach the small businesses and communities with the greatest need will have dedicated funding to get relief out the door. CAP called for additional funding for testing and tracing, and we are thrilled that this urgent funding is in this package.
The necessity of this emergency bill, however, underscores the need for Congress to quickly pass a more comprehensive CARES 2 package. With each passing day, thousands of lives are lost due to the coronavirus, and many people are losing their livelihoods. As CAP noted earlier this month, it is imperative that lawmakers act now to pass another relief package at least as large as the first CARES Act. CARES 2 must include the aggressive health measures that are needed to end the crisis while also targeting economic aid toward the small businesses, state and local governments, and communities that are struggling the most. The next package must account for the disparate impact of the coronavirus crisis on communities that have long faced significant obstacles to security and well-being, especially people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, women, and people experiencing poverty. CARES 2 needs to include universally available paid leave, larger direct payments to households, additional Medicaid funding, expanded health care coverage, and food assistance.
It has also become increasingly clear that no relief bill will be effective without strong oversight. The government cannot allow the largest banks to determine which small businesses get relief and which are forced to lay off their workers or go bankrupt. Congress must include strong provisions in CARES 2 to ensure that relief is being allocated quickly and fairly and will be available for the duration of the crisis. The United States is facing its greatest economic and public health crisis in a century. The country’s future rests on Congress’ ability to pass a meaningful, targeted legislative package that addresses the scale and the severity of the crisis at hand.
For more information on this topic or to speak with to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at email@example.com.
To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.