Schakowsky Blasts Trump Administration’s Failure To Implement CARES Act

April 28, 2020
Press Release

EVANSTON, IL – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, highlighted the failures of the Trump Administration to effectively and efficiently implement provisions of the CARES Act during a press call Monday evening. Many of these provisions, dealing with direct assistance to families and small business owners, have continued to keep many Americans waiting for relief during this challenging pandemic crisis. She was joined by a local community banker trying to process Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, small business owners and independent contractors trying to apply for PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, a ride share driver trying to access unemployment benefits, and a family waiting for their stimulus payments. These individuals represent people throughout her district, the state of Illinois and the nation who need access to the relief programs authorized and created by Congress.

“To address our current crisis, Congress entrusted nearly $4 trillion with the Trump Administration to be distributed to the American people in need. But at every turn our constituents are confronted with error messages, busy signals, and conflicting information. It rolled out the PPP program without first ensuring that the requisite forms were accessible to the very lenders it was relying on to distribute the funds. Many people diligently tried to file on the first day of the first round, and they still haven’t seen any progress on those applications,” added Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Congress labored to ensure that the unemployment program would include gig workers and independent contractors, and so many others usually shut out of the program. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor issued flawed guidance and rules that didn’t live up to the law we passed. While there are many people who have fortunately received their stimulus payments, there are many, many more who have not and have not been able to verify that they will be receiving those benefits.”

“We are trying to pour a gallon of water out through an eye-dropper,” said Thomas Olivieri, President of Devon Bank. “The SBA isn’t designed for something of this scale. They’ve done more volume in the last 14 days than in the last 14 years. I’ve had more adults crying on the phone, talking to me about their businesses, and what they are watching evaporate before their eyes, than I even heard in the Great Recession.”

During the press conference, several constituents shared their experiences as well. They included a self-employed graphic designer, a part-time college instructor who gets a majority of his income through rideshare driving, an independent contractor who works with supermarket chains, and a property owner. They have all tried to access various benefits programs, many created or expanded by the CARES Act, with no success yet.

“At every turn, the Trump Administration has chosen to make things easy for big business and the super-rich, and hard on small businesses and workers. It didn’t have to let big banks utilize a concierge hotline to help get their richest clients loans intended for small businesses. It chose to do so. It didn’t have to issue confusing guidance that slowed states implementation of unemployment insurance. It chose to do so. Senate Republicans didn’t have to prioritize a tax loophole in CARES that sent over a million dollars to 43,000 millionaires. They chose to do so,” added Congresswoman Schakowsky. “So long as Senate Republicans choose to provide cover for a feckless Administration, the American people should expect the President to continue prioritizing the haves over the have nots. There are real people suffering – the Trump Administration must choose to do better by prioritizing people over profits, and competence over loyalty and ideology.”

Full audio of the press conference is AVAILABLE HERE.