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DeLauro Remarks on Third Coronavirus Response Bill

March 27, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 27, 2020) Today, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) spoke on the House Floor in favor of Congress’s third coronavirus response bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A video of her speech can be found here, and below are her remarks as delivered:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the historic bill.

This is the biggest economic and health crisis the country has ever faced. Nurses and doctors are in intensive care units trying to save our humanity against this awful pandemic. And this is the biggest governmental response the country has ever seen to rescue people, the economy, and the health care system.

It is necessary. The United States is now the epicenter of a global pandemic. Cases of the coronavirus are rising exponentially. And, to slow the spread of the contagion, serious measures of social distancing are underway. Schools are closing, businesses are shuttering, and last week, more than 3 million filed for unemployment.

So, the hour is dark. But today, the Congress is ready to help get families, workers, and the country to the dawn of recovery. For that, I want to commend Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, and all of the appropriations subcommittee chairs. Their leadership has been crucial in the progress that we were able to make for the people.

Had we passed our House bill, things would be different. But we managed to shape this package in a fundamental way.

We secured a large investment in hospitals, health systems, state and local governments, a profound increase in Unemployment Insurance benefits, a significant expansion of support for small businesses. We made rent, mortgage, and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.

As Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee, I am proud of the investments we made for our working people, for public health, and for teachers and students.

For health, we secured $140 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to the pandemic, $945 million for the NIH to support research, $127 billion for our medical response effort. And, important increases for seniors, for those living with disabilities, and for those struggling with mental health.

In education, $30 billion for the Department of Education—billions for elementary and secondary education and billions to help colleges and universities to confront the immediate effects of the pandemic. While this funding is crucial, let me be clear, it’s a start.

For working people and families, we secured $3.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant and $360 million for programs at the Department of Labor.

I’m proud of the increases that other appropriations subcommittee chairs have secured. Millions to ensure the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Millions to assist firefighters and our first responders to secure personal protective equipment. $25 billion for public transit to protect passengers and operators as they access essential services. $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant to help communities respond to economic and housing impacts.

Emergency funding for child nutrition programs. $4 billion for homeless grants. $45 billion for FEMA disaster relief providing assistance to every single state who has declared an emergency. And we have provided relief to our tribal organizations and to our territories.

So, I embrace this historic bill. I know the Speaker, Appropriations Chairman Lowey, the Committee Chairs fought to include paid sick days, paid leave for all, increased food assistance, and a strengthened and a fully refundable Child Tax Credit and a Young Child Tax Credit. 

Soon, soon duty will call on us to take the next major bold steps in this crisis, and I call on the House of Representatives to support the relief that Americans need.