Congressman Panetta Votes for Third Coronavirus Emergency Relief Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) voted in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, S.3548.
"Today, I flew back to our nation’s capital so that I could vote for and Congress could pass the CARES Act, which will provide urgent relief to employers, employees, and their families on the central coast of California. During this unprecedented pandemic, Congressional Democrats and Republicans continue to come together and ensure that the federal government works for our constituents by providing the funding for the resources required by our communities," said Congressman Panetta. "This package includes expanded unemployment insurance, direct payments to workers, and payroll and rent assistance to small businesses. The bill also provides funding for large industries with many employees to stay afloat, but mandates strict oversight procedures to protect those workers. The legislation further funds resources for those on the frontlines of this pandemic by ensuring that our health care workers have the equipment required to execute their jobs safely and effectively."
The legislation supports numerous initiatives that will benefit the Central Coast and country, including:
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- More Than $9 Billion in Relief for Farmers: This legislation provides $9.5 billion for agricultural producers, including local food producers and fruit and vegetable growers, who are experiencing financial losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will help ensure our farmers can continue providing nutritious food to our communities through the duration of this emergency and beyond.
- More than $25 Million in Food Assistance: This legislation provides $15.8 billion for emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known as CalFresh in California, and $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs. This legislation also provides $450 million to provide food banks with additional resources for food and distribution.
- Relief for Student Loan Borrowers: Pauses payments and interest on federal student loans for six months, and makes employer-provided contributions to student loan payments tax-free for 2020.
- Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.
- More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, our state will receive $237.1 million. In addition, the bill provides an additional $2 billion for these grants that will be allocated by HUD to the most hard-pressed areas.
- Emergency Homeless Assistance: This bill provides $4 billion in emergency homeless assistance to enable state and local governments to finance housing and health related services for the hundreds of thousands of people currently experiencing homelessness.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports child-care and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. California will receive $347.7 million under this emergency appropriation.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. California will receive $74.9 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Transit Agencies: Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented. This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. California will receive $3.7 billion under this program.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. California will receive $96.1 million under this appropriation.
Watch Congressman Panetta’s remarks on the House floor ahead of the vote, here.
Earlier this month, Congressman Panetta voted for two pieces of coronavirus response legislation. He voted in favor of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 6074, to support federal, state, and local efforts to treat and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That bipartisan funding package included funding for vaccine research, development, and therapeutics, preparedness and prevention efforts, and the purchase of medical supplies and support for community health centers. He also voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, comprehensive legislation aimed at bolstering the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and addressing the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security. Both bills are now law.