Schakowsky Votes For COVID Relief Measures and Comprehensive Funding Package

December 22, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Monday, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, voted for legislation to provide relief to families and small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation passed also includes comprehensive funding language to keep the federal government in operation through the 2021 fiscal year. Several key pieces of legislation, including some consumer protection priorities ushered through the House by Schakowsky’s Subcommittee, were included in the final bill of the 116th Congress.

“One thing is clear; the pandemic relief portions of this legislation do not do enough for the families and small businesses struggling to survive this crisis. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats fought hard for more, from passing two relief packages since May that Senate Republicans ignored, to the negotiations for this legislation that is now on its way to the President’s desk,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “This legislation will provide $600 survival checks to individuals, $2400 to families of four, $300 weekly unemployment benefits through March, relief programs that focus on the smallest of small businesses, and a grant program for independent live entertainment venues and cultural institutions hardest hit by this crisis.”

The COVID-19 relief components of the legislation secured critical lifelines for the American people, including:

•           $600 stimulus checks per individual, $1200 for couples, and $600 for each child, up to two;

•           Allows mixed immigration status families to receive these economic impact payments, which is retroactive to the first payment from the CARES Act;

•           $300 a week in unemployment benefits, through March, and increases the total amount of weeks individuals are eligible for benefits from 39 to 50;

•           Allows states to waive overpayment reimbursements made without fault of the individual;

•           enhanced SNAP benefits to combat the hunger crisis;

•           funding and policy changes to help small businesses, focusing on smaller businesses, creating “second draw” PPP loans and grants for live entertainment venues;

•           $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools;

•           Provides funding to airlines and their contractors to rehire and provide backpay to furloughed employees;

The pandemic relief programs were included in the annual funding bill required by Congress to authorize and pay for federal government operations. These investments allow for strong funding in programs that will strengthen American families and communities.

Congresswoman Schakowsky added, “as we bring the 116th Congress to an end, we passed groundbreaking and historic funding to help hard working Americans, protect consumers, and take climate change head-on. Legislation that came thru my subcommittee and included in this package will increase product safety inspectors at U.S. ports to stop dangerous products from getting into the country. It will also help protect consumers from harmful, flammable products and predatory COVID-19 scams, and protect racehorses and jockeys from avoidable risks.”

Some of the key funding highlights in this funding package include:

•           Increased funding for better schools in our public education systems;

•           Full funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program and other childhood nutrition programs;

•           Increased funding for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs to hold polluters accountable, and other programs to combat climate change;

•           Reduced funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and removal activities, restoring focus on a more humane approach to immigration;

•           Honoring our commitment to our veterans, with increased funding for VA medical care, suicide prevention, homelessness assistance and gender-specific care.

“Finally, this legislation authorizes some new key programs, such as creating two new Smithsonian museums; one honoring the history of women and another celebrating the story of Latinos in the United States. It improves access to higher education, by increasing access to Pell Grants and simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It also does away with the drug conviction question from the FAFSA that has been a barrier to many seeking higher education,” Schakowsky added. “It also eliminates medical surprise billing by ensuring patients are only responsible for their in-network cost-sharing amounts in both emergency situations and certain non-emergency situations where they can’t choose an in-network provider.”

A division-by-division summary of the appropriations provisions is here. A division-by-division summary of the coronavirus relief provisions is here. A division-by-division of the authorizing matters is here.

One-page fact sheets on the critical priorities included among the appropriations provisions, the coronavirus relief provisions, and the authorizing matters are here, here, and here respectively.