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Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019

Floor Speech

Date: March 27, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748). As America responds to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I am proud that the House and the Senate have worked together in bipartisan fashion to produce an emergency relief package that will rescue our economy from collapse and put the needs of America's working families, our hospitals, and frontline responders first.

In this unprecedented crisis facing our nation, Congress has the obligation to take immediate and bold action to protect the health and economic security of all Americans. That is why Congress has already passed two emergency relief bills that provided billions of dollars for testing, vaccine development, food security for vulnerable populations, and paid sick leave for workers. This third bill before us today builds on those down payments and addresses the economic security of our nation.

H.R. 748 will ensure that America's working families, our small businesses, and industries vital to our economic strength will survive this crisis and continue to thrive. This legislation will assist low and middle-income Americans by providing them immediate financial relief in the form of direct cash payments and expanded access to unemployment benefits. It will provide $349 billion in loans and grants to small businesses to ensure that they are able to pay their bills and meet their payroll obligations. And, H.R. 748 will provide $150 billion to state, local, and tribal governments to assist them with their public health response and short-term spending shortages.

Additionally, I was proud to work to include $1 billion in funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) to assist our national network of over a thousand Community Action Agencies as they respond to this crisis. These agencies are in almost every county in America and will serve as a first line of defense for millions of Americans facing unemployment and economic hardship.

H.R. 748 will also provide over $100 billion in urgently needed assistance to our hospitals, including $1 billion for the Indian Health Service. Our health care workers are risking their own safety on the frontlines of this crisis, fighting every hour of the week to save American lives. We must ensure that they have the protective personal equipment needed to keep them safe. H.R. 748 will help give them those tools.

As we pass this legislation today, we know that our work on behalf of America's families is nowhere near complete. The 116th Congress will now turn to additional legislation to assist the sick, the unemployed, and the most vulnerable as we move through this period of national and global crisis.

Again, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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