Congressman Tony Cardenas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – a $2 trillion coronavirus response package. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this week with bipartisan support, includes cash assistance for American workers; funding for hospitals, healthcare and emergency workers who are on the frontlines; relief for small businesses; and a massive increase in Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Congressman Cardenas
Congressman Cardenas with community leaders and local elected officials.

“Working families are hurting, American businesses are suffering, and hospitals and healthcare workers are in desperate need of resources to combat the virus,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas. “This is an extraordinary time in our nation’s history, and it deserves an equally extraordinary response.

“The CARES Act puts money directly into the pockets of American families, provides funding for hospitals and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines, and financial relief for small businesses that are hurting because of the coronavirus pandemic. During this time of stress and uncertainty, every American needs to know that their government is there to support them without hesitation. Although this bill is not perfect, House Democrats were able to move this away from corporations-focused to workers-first and lay the groundwork for the next coronavirus response package. I will continue working relentlessly to put Families and Workers First and protect Americans’ health, safety, and economic security.

“This is not the first time America has faced challenging times, but we always get through them. And we will get through this one, together.”

Included in the $2 trillion 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. California will receive approximately $15 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 approximately $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, California 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 childcare and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. California 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 $75 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.

The United States has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, surpassing China which has a population roughly four times the size of the United States and where the virus originated. This week, it was reported that shocking 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Earlier this month, Congressman Cárdenas introduced legislation to provide free coronavirus testing to uninsured Americans, which was included in the $8.3 billion emergency response aid package. Additionally, Congressman Cárdenas and 42 Members sent a letter to Vice President Pence, the designated lead for the federal government’s coronavirus response, urging the Administration to reconsider its “public charge” rule in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Congressman Cárdenas introduced H.R. 6019, the bipartisan “Cure the Coronavirus Act,” legislation to encourage the rapid innovation and approval of a treatment to prevent or cure the Coronavirus Disease 2019.


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