Pallone on House Passage of Third Coronavirus Pandemic Response Legislation
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third major legislation passed by Congress to respond to the coronavirus pandemic:
“Today, more help is on the way. The CARES Act provides essential assistance to the American people, health care workers, hospitals, small businesses and state and local governments that have been seriously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This legislation provides much needed financial relief to laid-off or furloughed workers through increased and extended unemployment insurance so they will continue to receive a paycheck in the weeks and months ahead. It also puts money in the pockets of struggling Americans and provides grants and loans to small businesses to help them better weather the ongoing economic storm.
“As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelms our health care workers and hospitals, the legislation includes $100 billion to our hospitals and $16 billion for personal protective equipment and other resources for our courageous health care workers so they can safely treat patients. Health care professionals are on the front lines, and we must continue to work to ensure they are protected and have the resources they need to safely do their jobs.
“I’m pleased that it provides an additional $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help more people pay their heating and cooling bills. The legislation also contains $1 billion in Community Service Block Grant funding, part of which states can use to help impacted residential consumers pay their water bills. These are helpful investments, but we must do more to assist struggling families who are experiencing rising utility bills because they are spending more time in their homes.
“Finally, I’m glad to see that Democrats were successful in removing a provision in the initial draft of the Senate bill that would have provided a $3 billion bailout to the oil and gas industry. This provision had no place in this legislation.
“The CARES Act takes a significant step in protecting the health of all Americans and providing peace of mind during this time of economic uncertainty, but there is a lot more work to do. In future legislation, we must ensure affordable treatment for all, expand distance learning programs and access to the internet for low-income Americans, protect consumers from price gouging and prevent critical services from being shut off during this crisis.”