Chairman Neal Floor Remarks on Emergency Interim Funding Package

Apr 23, 2020
Press Release
(As prepared for delivery)
 
Thank you, M. Speaker. We are here today in these trying and unprecedented times to act on an emergency interim funding package that I am proud has strong bipartisan support.
 
But we did not arrive here without significant efforts by my Democratic colleagues.  When we began negotiations with the Senate, we were presented with an insufficient proposal that did not address the deadly public health crisis that has now claimed the lives of nearly 47,000 Americans.
 
The measure that Democrats fought for will now bring real relief to the American people and prioritizes resources to combat this virus.
 
This means more funding for hospitals and health workers. It also means resources designated for testing. I am encouraged that the Administration has committed to a national testing strategy, which is a necessity to reopen the economy.
 
We are all painfully aware that the American people are worried about their health, their jobs, the economy, and what life will look like after this emergency ends. It is our responsibility to give our communities the confidence that we will get through this crisis and that eventually we will all return to our normal lives.
 
To do this, we must protect our small businesses on Main Street. That’s why we fought to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and target the funds to community-based lenders, small banks, and credit unions.
 
The legislation before us today is a marked improvement from where the Senate Majority started. But I want to be clear, this does not come close to addressing the staggering needs of the American people. That is why my fellow Chairs and I have already begun working on COVID 4.
 
Our next relief package must be grounded in the understanding that restarting our economy can only happen when Americans are healthy. For our part, the Ways and Means Committee will prioritize funding for hospitals and assistance for those on the frontlines.
 
In addition, our state and local governments are feeling the pain of slashed revenues from this pandemic. Without our support, essential workers, who have been risking their lives, are at risk of losing their jobs.
 
Finally, we must look out for the most vulnerable in our country by putting money in their pockets with another round of stimulus payments so they can pay for essentials.  Similarly, we need to extend federal unemployment compensation into the fall and help take the pressure off of overwhelmed state programs.

Since this crisis began, members and staff have made herculean efforts to address the challenges we are facing, but we still have so much more work to ensure that we put the needs of our neighbors first. Together we will rise to this challenge.
 
With that, I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation and I reserve the balance of my time.
 
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