Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement on the House floor on the urgent need to pass coronavirus response legislation.
Mister Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues to have a terrible impact throughout the nation. Cases are surging, and thousands are dying from the virus every day. There has been over 16 million United States cases, and over 300,000 people have lost their lives in the United. States. Over 20 million people across the country are collecting unemployment and struggling to make ends meet. In California, more than 1.3 million people have become unemployed over the past year. Hunger is growing across the nation. One in five renters is behind on paying their rent, meaning that millions are on the brink of eviction as months of back rent are coming due. The Federal Reserve estimates that renters in California will owe $1.7 billion in unpaid rent by the end of the year, representing almost a quarter of the total rental debt that will have accrued nationwide during the pandemic. Small businesses are struggling, and as many as one-third of small businesses– including more than 40 percent of Black-owned and Latinx-owned small businesses – say they will be forced to close their doors for good without immediate relief from Congress.
Families across the country desperately need relief. And so, it is absolutely essential that Congress finally come to a bipartisan agreement for a relief bill. As Democrats are nearing a compromise with our Republican colleagues, we must ensure that the legislation helps all of those who are struggling during this pandemic.
It is especially important that the relief bill contain another round of direct stimulus payments for individuals and families to help them to make ends meet. We must also provide additional unemployment assistance to those who have lost their jobs as a result of the crisis.
As Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, I am working hard to secure the inclusion of much-needed emergency rental assistance in the bill and the extension of the eviction moratorium, as well as funding for community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions that support access to credit and investments in communities of color, which have been hit hard by this crisis. And, as this pandemic continues to rage, it would be completely irresponsible and foolish to take away the Federal Reserve’s and Treasury’s crisis management tools that can help address threats to jobs, small businesses, municipal governments and the economy.
Let me be clear that the compromise bill that is now being worked on, while important, will not be enough by itself. Families across the country will need more help. Congress must work with the incoming Biden Administration to take additional action to support those who are struggling every day and put the country on a path to recovery.