Hastings' Statement on Passage of the Third COVID-19 Emergency Relief Bill


Date: March 27, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement following House passage of the third COVID-19 emergency relief bill, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will now go to the President's desk for his signature.

"I am proud to support this historic piece of legislation, which will deliver $2 trillion in urgent relief to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including $8.3 billion funneled to Florida to help families, workers, students, and small businesses. Florida is one of a handful of states that has been hit the hardest by the health emergency presented by this pandemic, and I am painfully aware of the strain this is placing on Floridians - from our dedicated health workers, first responders, grocery employees, federal workers, and other essential staff and volunteers on the frontlines - to our students, families, and small businesses.

"Thanks to the hard work of Congressional Democrats, the Republican corporations-focused proposal bill has been turned into a bold, bipartisan pro-worker stimulus bill that is desperately needed to protect the health and well-being of every American, delivering billions of necessary aid to Floridians. The bill provides $260 billion to dramatically expand unemployment benefits, including an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers. Additionally, the CARES Act ensures 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. More than $375 billion in small business relief is provided, 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. Furthermore, this legislation makes an investment of $200 billion for our hospitals, health care workers, and health research and provides more than $100 billion in additional emergency appropriations.

"My heartfelt gratitude goes out to our first responders and essential workers, and all Floridians for doing their part to follow CDC guidelines including social distancing to save lives, flatten the curve, and slow the spread of COVID-19. With the passage of this robust $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, our job is far from over. I will continue to fight relentlessly in Congress to protect all Americans' health, safety, and economic security and deliver swift relief to Floridians during this difficult time."

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.