WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following remarks on the House floor on March 13, 2020 in support for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency is a call to action to protect Americans’ health and well being and protect the economy.
“This bill, thanks to the leadership of Secretary Mnuchin and Leader McCarthy, meets many of those goals.
“The President had succeeded in working with the private sector to achieve free testing, and now our bill builds on that.
“Americans that need lab tests for the coronavirus will get them free.
“We are making good on President Trump’s promise to provide financial assistance for working Americans who are ‘ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus’ — and it does so using our tax code rather than by creating a new entitlement.
“I have spoken directly with President Trump – a champion of small business – who agrees that America’s small businesses need flexibility and cash flow when providing emergency leave for workers, so they can operate and survive during this economic challenge.
“In order to help small businesses and their workers, President Trump is directing the Secretary of the Treasury to ensure that small businesses have the flexibility to provide paid leave for their employees.
“They shouldn’t be have to be concerned about cash flow when they work to retain the workers they need to operate and keep serving their customers and communities. This is vital to America’s economic rebound.
“This bill also protects seniors and those with severe medical conditions by ensuring the Social Security Administration is not running a new permanent mandate.
“We were also able to stop some of Democrats’ misguided demands. In the bill, the health provisions are targeted to COVID-19 without including unrelated treatments, ensuring pro-life Hyde Amendment protections remain intact to prevent taxpayer funds being used for abortion.
“And Republicans were able to block Democrats from adding new burdens on hospitals that would have overruled the CDC’s science-based guidelines and prevented critical flexibility for our local care providers.
“These are temporary, targeted measures. They are temporary because we have seen what happens when a bill that’s supposed to be ‘timely, targeted, and temporary’ drags on for years. It prolongs economic hardship.
“We will rebound and we will rebound strongly. Good policies–ones that strengthen our local communities–result in speedy recoveries.
“In America, we know we are blessed, even when faced with great adversity.
“We are blessed by an abundance not only of resources, but of spirit. It is that very spirit that will get us through coronavirus, and any other challenge we face in the future.
“While today’s bill isn’t perfect, it is another step in the right direction toward safety and security.
“I encourage my colleagues to vote for this bill and then come back to the table so we can continue our work to keep American workers and families prepared, safe, and healthy.
“Thank you, Madame Speaker.”