March 27, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) today released the following statement after the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help our health care and economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The emergency relief bill bolsters our capacity to sufficiently respond to the public health crisis and provides desperately needed support to individuals and families, small businesses, and workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly burdened the entire health care system in Washington. This bill directs billions of dollars to hospitals and providers and state, local, and tribal governments on the front lines of protecting the health of our communities. It also makes investments to help ensure we increase production and capacity for critical medical equipment and supplies to care for patients and keep health care workers and first responders safe.
“Required social distancing measures keep us safe and help prevent our hospitals from collapsing, but they have also had a devastating effect on the economy. This bill infuses billions of dollars for relief to small businesses to maintain payroll and pay rent while many of their businesses have been forced to close. As we have seen unemployment claims skyrocket, this legislation provides a historic expansion and enhancement of unemployment benefits. It increases the amount eligible workers receive each week, provides for an additional 13 weeks of benefits, and expands eligibility to include gig economy, part-time, and self-employed workers. We are also fulfilling our promise of putting money directly into the pockets of individuals and families who need it. The bill will provide immediate payments to low and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child.
“This bill also recognizes that COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our society. It takes important steps to support schools, transit agencies, and other service providers that have been negatively impacted, and address challenges such as food security, homelessness, and childcare that have been exacerbated during this crisis.
“Today’s legislation also contains critical support for the Department of Defense. As we continue to grapple with this crisis, the DoD’s participation in the whole of government response is vital to our success.
“Specifically, the bill provides the DoD with the resources needed to sustain a significant deployment of National Guard troops supporting state responses to COVID-19 and purchase much-needed equipment and supplies under the Defense Production Act. And because our military’s greatest asset is our men and women in uniform, today’s bill also allocates nearly $4 billion for the Defense Health Program, $415 million of which will be dedicated to the research and development of vaccines and treatments.
“While this third relief package is another important step in combatting the impacts of the pandemic, it will not be the last action Congress takes. I greatly appreciate the input from organizations and constituents across the district over the last few weeks and look forward to continuing to work with the community to alleviate the impact of this public health crisis.”