Schakowsky Applauds Passage of CARES Act to Address Coronavirus Pandemic Needs
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, applauded the passage of the Bipartisan Families & Workers-First Coronavirus stimulus package. This is third package of legislation in as many weeks designed to address the current pandemic striking the nation and the world, providing resources and relief to our health care workers and facilities, and to the working people of our country.
“These are challenging times for people across the Chicagoland area, our state, our nation and the world. It is especially stressful both for people unable to work because they are furloughed or fired, and unsure where their next paycheck will come from, and those who are working as frontline health care workers, first responders, airport personnel, grocery store employees, nursing home staff, and others doing essential jobs,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans this weekend came up with a bill that was a non-starter. It created a slush fund for corporations with no accountability or oversight, and zero protections for the workers of those companies. I am proud that Speaker Pelosi and our House Democratic leadership, along with Senate Democrats, have been able to reshape this bill we have passed today that provides relief for our workers, our health care facilities and staff, our small businesses, and for our families.”
Democrats have achieved the bold, pro-worker bill that is desperately needed to protect the health and well-being of the American people. Improvements secured by Democrats in the now-bipartisan legislation include:
- For fighting the coronavirus, Democrats fought for and won a $100 billion investment in hospitals, health systems, and $150 billion for state and local governments in this agreement, to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency.
- For our workers, we secured a massive $260 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers. We secured an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits to be made available immediately and defeated Republicans’ cruel last-minute attempt to remove the $600 in expanded Unemployment Insurance. And we included a tax credit that encourages businesses to keep workers on their payroll.
- For our small businesses, we won a $377 billion infusion of fast relief for small businesses and made rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
- For our students, we secured more than $30 billion in emergency education funding and eliminated income tax liability for employees who receive student loan repayments from an employer.
- For accountability and oversight, we prevented secret bailouts and added special oversight requirements. The legislation prohibits businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Congressional Representatives, Senators, and heads of federal agencies from receiving funds from programs managed by the U.S. Treasury. It also bans corporations that receive assistance under this bill from conducting stock buybacks.
- For the people, we eliminated a $3B bailout for big oil.
Several initiatives Congresswoman Schakowsky personally crafted for inclusion in this important legislation include:
- Provisions to allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other professionals to order home health services for beneficiaries, reducing delays and increasing beneficiary access to care in the safety of their home (initially introduced by Rep. Schakowsky as the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, H.R. 2150)
- A reauthorization and improvement of programs to support clinician training and faculty development, including the training of practitioners in family medicine, general internal medicine, geriatrics, and pediatrics, a critical boost to the health care workforce during a critical time (initially introduced by Rep. Schakowsky as the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act, H.R. 2781)
- Provisions that give consumers insurance coverage without cost sharing for a coronavirus vaccine within 15 days of that vaccine receiving a rating of “A” or “B” from the United States Preventive Services Task Force or a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (initially introduced by Rep. Schakowsky as the Ensuring Affordable COVID-19 Preventive Care Act of 2020, H.R. 6222).
Congresswoman Schakowsky added, “there is still much left undone in this third package. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address some of those concerns moving forward, including additional support for families and patients and preventing what would amount to war profiteering. I also want to applaud the work of all of our local leaders in this crisis, and in particular, Governor J.B. Pritzker. I want to acknowledge his creation of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, led by our former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, which has already raised more than $23 million. These funds will help fill gaps left by current policy and regulations, particularly low-income households and immigrant families.”
Information on accessing these programs will be available on the Congresswoman’s website at http://schakowsky.house.gov/coronavirus, as they become available in the coming days and weeks.