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Waters Delivers House Floor Statement on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

Washington, DC, March 27, 2020

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, delivered the following floor statement in support of H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

As Prepared for Delivery

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 748, now referred to as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act.

Congress must take action to provide relief and assistance to the millions of people across the nation who are struggling in the midst of this national public health and economic emergency. With 3.3 million Americans filing for unemployment last week, a million Californians filing for unemployment in the last two weeks, and many families struggling to make ends meet, it is our duty as elected officials to step up and help them.

Several weeks ago, I led the Democratic Members on the Financial Services Committee in devising a comprehensive plan to address the financial services aspects of the coronavirus crisis. I am pleased that today’s bill includes some elements of this plan.

The legislation before us takes important steps to protect and provide relief for consumers, renters, homeowners and people experiencing homelessness. The bill would address the shortage of key medical supplies and equipment by providing a $1 billion dollar appropriation to the Defense Production Act fund.

It would support small businesses and local, territory, and state governments, and ensure that any federal aid to corporations has conditions and independent oversight.

The bill provides $4 billion dollars to help combat the outbreak of this disease among the homeless community.

Most importantly, building upon my proposal, most individuals and families across the country will receive a check or direct deposit for $1200 dollars for each adult and $500 dollars for each child to help our families who are struggling during this unprecedented crisis.

While I am pleased that the legislation includes these provisions that Democrats fought for and while I support the bill’s passage, I must make clear that the legislation is far from comprehensive, and that there are issues it leaves unaddressed and areas where it falls short.

H.R. 748 does not prohibit negative credit reporting during the crisis, forgive student loan debt, suspend all consumer credit payments, among other concerns. However, despite these shortcomings this bill is the most consequential piece of legislation that many of us will ever vote on. The American people need help now and this bill represents a down payment on that relief.

I look forward to working with the Speaker, my Committee colleagues, the Senate and others on the next phase of relief.

While it is clear that Congress must pass a fourth package to address these and other shortcomings, the passage of today’s bill is critical for all families and communities.

Thank you. I yield back.

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