McCollum statement on passage of third coronavirus emergency relief package
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement today after the third coronavirus emergency response package was expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives:
"The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is big, bold, smart legislation that puts the American people first as we respond to this global pandemic," McCollum said. "I'm proud that the immediate financial and health needs of American workers and families as well as our hospitals and frontline health care workers were put front and center. Oversight measures secured by Democrats will ensure that big businesses benefiting from this package cannot use massive stock buybacks or outsourcing jobs to boost their bottom line, but instead are held accountable and put their employees first.
"Our biggest priority right now is keeping families safe and healthy and ensuring we're doing everything within our power to prevent a collapse of our health system and economy. This bill is a down payment on keeping our society intact -- right now, and for the future -- and we'll continue to listen to the needs of the most vulnerable as we develop further federal legislation in response to COVID-19."
Congresswoman McCollum worked with Congressional leadership to secure $1 billion in funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), providing funding for the nation's 1,000+ Community Action Agencies to meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the U.S. These agencies are uniquely situated to help address the needs of the millions of Americans financially affected by COVID-19 and have already begun performing services such as providing childcare for health workers, delivering meals to individuals, and providing diapers to vulnerable families.
The bill also includes:
-$10 billion in dedicated funding for Indian Country to help tribal governments respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 2.5 million Native Americans rely on the Indian Health Service, and funding will help with staffing, testing, treatment, and equipment, as well as support for remote education, telework, public safety, and more.
-$200 billion to invest in our health system, including $100 billion for hospitals and $16 billion to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, increased testing capacity, and more.
-$1,200 direct cash payments to individuals making less than $75,000/year plus $500 per child; lower, tiered payments to those with incomes up to $99,000/year.
-Expanded unemployment insurance, adding $600 per person per week onto the base maximum unemployment benefit for four months. Additionally, the program will now include freelancers, furloughed employees, and gig workers.
-$375 billion for small businesses, and a provision making rent, mortgage, and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
-$25 billion for food security programs, including SNAP, emergency food banks, food distribution on Indian reservations, and child nutrition.