Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019

Floor Speech

Date: March 31, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CRIST. Mr. Speaker, I add my voice in support of the CARES Act.

This sweeping, bipartisan legislation is the work of a Congress that soberly understands the gravity of the emergency facing our nation. It is only because Congress has set aside partisanship and disagreements that I am able to say, help, my friends, is on the way.

For the 3.3 million who filed for unemployment last week and the millions more who have not yet been able to navigate states' overwhelmed unemployment servers, this new law will provide an additional $600 per week in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

I fought for this $15 per hour living wage to give a hand to the servers, bartenders, and other tipped employees that are the backbone of Florida's tourism and services sector.

The law provides a $1200 check to all Americans, including those on Social Security, who make less than $75,000.

It includes a $100 billion ``Marshall Plan'' for our hospitals and public health system and $150 billion for states and tribes.

It provides over $350 billion for small businesses on Main Street in grants, forgivable loans, and tax credits so they can make payroll and pay monthly bills to keep their businesses afloat.

The new law provides 6 months relief for federal student loan payments, blocks evictions for 150 days, blocks foreclosures for 60 days, and offers mortgage forbearance for up to 6 months--all penalty- free. No interest, fees, or negative information on your credit report.

This bill is neither perfect nor the last word. As this crisis unfolds and America rises to face unthinkable challenges, so too must their Representatives in Congress.

We need more masks, protective equipment, and ventilators. And we need testing everywhere.

We need more help for our cities like St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, and Pinellas Park.

We need to do more for essential employees--the grocery store checkers, truck drivers, farmers, sanitation workers, pharmacists, cooks, home care workers, and delivery workers that are enabling the rest of us to shelter- in-place and fight the spread. They deserve more than our thanks. They deserve child care, overtime, and hazard pay.

Finally, but of the highest priority, we need to do all we can for doctors, nurses, and other frontline healthcare workers--those risking it all to save lives. They are the true heroes of this pandemic. Angels, not with wings but with masks and protective gowns. You have our undying gratitude.

Never in any of our lifetimes has America stared down an enemy so insidious and so devastating. But we will answer this call of history with courage and resolve. We must.

Be safe. Stay healthy. Stay home. And God bless. We will get through this. We're all in this together.

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