Press Releases

DelBene Praises Passage of Historic COVID-19 Relief Package

f t # e
Washington, D.C., March 27, 2020 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) praised the passage of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748), a $2 trillion relief package that will protect Washington state families, workers, and small businesses, and ensure our health care system has the resources it needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are meeting a historic moment with historic action. Washington state has been facing this pandemic since the beginning and Congress must provide the hardest hit communities like mine with the critical support they need,” said DelBene. “These are uncertain times and I will continue fighting for our communities and frontline responders as we all work to get through this crisis.”

This bill takes sweeping action to address the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes:

Health System Support

  • $100 billion in surge funding for hospitals, which is extremely important for Washington as it is already nearing surge capacity;
  • $4.3 billion for public health agencies that continue to work around the clock in our state addressing this virus;
  • $16 billion for personal protective equipment, which is running alarmingly low in Washington; and
  • Additional payments to hospitals for each COVID-19 patient, which require greater resources than the average hospital stay.

Relief for Workers and Families

  • A $600 increase to weekly unemployment insurance for an additional 13 weeks;
  • A direct payment of $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples, and $500 per child to help families and stimulate the economy;
  • $3.5 billion for childcare and early education programs to help our kids who cannot attend school; and
  • $3 billion in rental assistance for low income families.

Economic Stimulus

  • More than $375 billion in small business grants and loans to help pay expenses and keep employees on payroll;
  • Puts guardrails and oversight on big businesses like prohibiting stock buybacks and executive bonuses so they cannot misuse taxpayer assistance;
  • Employee retention incentives for businesses closed because of COVID-19; and
  • $35 billion to support continued operation of transit systems and airports.

Washington State Priorities

  • $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs;
  • More than $10 billion for tribal COVID-19 response efforts, including over $1 billion for the Indian Health Service;
  • $19.6 billion nationally for veterans, including to treat COVID-19, purchase test kits, and procure personal protective equipment for clinicians; and
  • $300 million for fishermen struggling with disappearing global markets because of the virus.

The CARES Act is the third bipartisan COVID-19 response package approved by Congress. Earlier in March, Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill that provided funds for vaccine development, telemedicine, small business loans, and public health response efforts. DelBene successfully fought to include a provision that backfilled state and local public health departments, which resulted in $11.5 million in immediate funding for Washington and ongoing financial support.

Shortly thereafter, Congress began immediately working on a second bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill encompasses many provisions DelBene prioritized, including free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs it, enhanced unemployment insurance, and nutritional security for at-risk groups.

The text of the CARES Act can be found here and a section-by-section summary can be found here.
f t # e