Rep. Mike Levin Statement on Bipartisan Coronavirus Relief Bill
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) released the following statement on the latest bipartisan coronavirus relief bill. Last week, Rep. Levin outlined his priorities for this legislation, many of which are reflected in this package. Previously, he helped pass the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.
Rep. Levin took a red eye flight to Washington, D.C. last night and he will be available for a roll call vote if needed.
“The American people need relief now, and that’s what we’re delivering with the latest bipartisan coronavirus response package. This bill isn’t perfect, and we need to do much more, but it’s a positive step that puts families first, not large corporations. Families and individuals will receive more paid emergency leave, unemployment insurance, direct cash, nutrition assistance, small business support, and much more. We know that our economic crisis will not subside until our health crisis is under control. That’s why this bill provides critical funding for state and local governments to provide resources and personal protective equipment for health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic.
“I am also glad that the legislation includes some oversight and accountability measures I fought for, including limitations on stock buybacks and executive bonuses, protections for workers to limit layoffs, new independent authorities to protect taxpayer dollars, and aid for the non-profit community. However, the bill should have gone farther to guarantee that corporations receiving funding put workers first over the long term.
“While I’m also disappointed that the bill does not include stronger environmental safeguards and support for clean energy workers who are facing massive layoffs, I won’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Ultimately, we will need to take much more action to address both the health and economic needs of working families, but this is a strong bipartisan step.”
Background on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act can be found here.
For families and workers, the bill includes:
- A significant investment in the unemployment insurance (UI) program as well as critical reforms to make the program more effective for workers
- Expanded UI to allow part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers to access benefits.
- An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits which will immediately be made available
- A $600 increase in UI benefits for every American, which equates to 100 percent of wages for the average American without a paycheck struggling through this crisis
- Cash payments to working and middle class Americans of $1,200
- Tax relief encouraging employers to implement student loan repayment programs
For health care providers, the bill includes:
- A new $100 billion fund that is widely available to all types of hospitals and providers most affected by coronavirus to fund whatever is needed to defeat this virus.
- $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile with pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies, which are distributed to State and local health agencies, hospitals, and other health care entities facing shortages.
- $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies.
- $4.3 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including for the purchase of personal protective equipment and laboratory tests.
For small businesses, the bill includes:
- $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
- $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
- $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
For oversight and accountability, the bill includes:
- Prohibition on stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the Treasury plus 1 year
- Restrictions on increases to executive compensation
- Prohibitions on businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from getting loans or investments from Treasury programs.
- A new Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to protect taxpayer dollars and a Congressional Oversight Commission to enhance legislative oversight.