(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) released the following statement after the House passed, by a voice vote, the third coronavirus economic relief package, which will now go to the President’s desk for signature:
“The pandemic outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has produced extreme consequences for the public health, our people, our businesses, our nonprofit community, and our economy. My thoughts and best wishes continue to go out to anyone and everyone affected medically, psychologically, and financially by this shocking crisis. But COVID-19 has hit us as an economic cyclone as well as a medical one. Safeguarding the livelihoods and health of Marylanders—and all Americans—is of primary and urgent importance to me.
“That’s why I am proud to support this historic legislation, which will bring urgently-needed relief to families, workers, hospitals, nurses and health providers, unemployed workers and consultants and hard-hit small businesses across the country. I have been working with fellow Members of Congress to provide broad and meaningful income support to workers in affected sectors who are displaced by the partial shutdown of our economy. I am happy not only about the direct payments to tens of millions of working-class Americans but the dramatic improvements in unemployment insurance that will take the average jobless American’s weekly benefits from 40% of his or her normal salary to 100%. We have also extended unemployment insurance in each state by thirteen weeks with the infusion of billions of dollars in federal funds.
"This legislation also provides hundreds of billions of dollars in support for states and localities, hospitals, businesses small and large, universities, school systems and essential nonprofit organizations still reeling from the shock of the crisis; massive investment in the manufacture of testing kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) health care workers need; and rapid emergency response to the manifold other needs afflicting our people.
“During this time of stress and uncertainty, every American needs to know that the U.S. Congress is here to provide the country forward-thinking public health and economic leadership. This legislation is an historic achievement in our ongoing efforts to ensure workers, families, and small businesses have the resources they need to get through this unprecedented crisis.
“I will continue to work through the days and evenings with my amazing staff and with our local, state, and federal partners to ensure that America has all the resources we need to keep our people safe. We have been through social traumas before as a nation, and we have made it through them, and we will make it through this one too if we stick together and take care of each other. We can do this.”
Numerous provisions in the CARES Act will directly benefit the residents of Maryland, including:
- State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: This bill creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that Maryland will receive approximately $2.3 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents.
- 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. Maryland will receive $695,418,978 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, Maryland will receive $30,816,055.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports childcare and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Maryland will receive $45,484,102 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. Maryland will receive $34,145,000 for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. Maryland will receive $17,276,794 under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants: Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards to help agencies cope with the public health emergency. The minimum award for Maryland is $ 11,399,000. States may also apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration. Maryland will receive $7,422,125 for these purposes.
Additional provisions in the CARES Act will benefit workers, small businesses, and health care professionals across America, including:
- $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.