Chairman Neal Floor Remarks on Third Coronavirus Response Legislation

Mar 27, 2020
Press Release
(As prepared for delivery)
 
M. Speaker, I rise in support of the third coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
 
Our country is weathering an unprecedented public health crisis that demands an unprecedented response from the U.S. Government. I am proud of the critical solutions my Ways and Means Colleagues and I contributed to this final legislation.
 
We, as Democrats, recognize that first and foremost, our priority is the health and wellness of all Americans.
 
The health care workers on the frontlines of this crisis are being pushed to their limits, both financially and physically. They need more masks, tests, ventilators, and beds to combat this virus. This legislation will help them secure these fundamental resources with $100 billion in funding for hospitals and our health system.
 
As we work to protect the health of all Americans, we are also focused on the health of our economy. Just yesterday morning, we learned that last week’s unemployment claims skyrocketed – rising by over one thousand percent.
 
As we face this record economic challenge, families need benefits that will allow them to cover essential expenses like food, rent, and medications. From the beginning of this crisis, Ways and Means Democrats have understood that expanding unemployment benefits must be a top priority. The additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits that we fought for is the least we can do to help those who, at no fault of their own, find themselves without a paycheck. Similarly, the direct infusion of $1,200 in cash for American adults that we fought for will help families through these challenging times.

We also fought to include provisions to shore up the financial health of small businesses and other struggling employers. We were adamant about the inclusion of the Employee Retention Credit because we know that the American economy will bounce back from this, and employers that take action to keep their employees on the payroll should be rewarded.
 
This legislation is the product of two very different sides coming together to protect the health and financial security of all Americans in the face of an unprecedented crisis. I want to thank the many members - on both sides of the aisle and the capitol - who have worked tirelessly to get this bill to where it is today.
 
I also want to thank my Ways and Means Committee staff who have been working around the clock since this crisis began and have provided the Committee – and the Congress – with unparalleled technical expertise and counsel. They deserve our deep appreciation.

America is facing a grave enemy in COVID-19. It is in these dark and uncertain times that I’m reminded of why I’m here. I am here to fight for the things that matter to Americans. I’m here to prioritize their health and well-being. We have a responsibility to take bold action to keep our economy going for workers and small businesses and to give families the peace of mind that they can depend on their government to keep them whole in times of crisis. That’s what we did with this bill.
 
My wish to my colleagues and the American people: be well and take care of one another.
 
I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation and I yield back the balance of my time.
 
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