WASHINGTON— Today the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a COVID-19 relief package that includes more relief for small businesses alongside direct economic aid to individuals in the form of relief payments, expanded unemployment benefits, and rental assistance. Rep. Grijalva issued the following statement noting his support for the package:
“This relief package should have been passed months ago, but it is a welcome step toward providing the resources we need to end the pandemic and get families, workers and small businesses the support they need to stay safe. It’s a down payment for future relief that ensures assistance to American workers through direct payments, extended unemployment insurance, and desperately needed rental assistance while expanding the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. I am proud to have worked on securing provisions such as financial support for live music venues and tribal assistance that will especially benefit our district.
“A crisis of this magnitude requires an equal response from our government, and we have continually fallen short. Senate Republicans and the White House chose to play politics while the virus spread across our country, killing our loved ones, overwhelming hospitals, and shuttering beloved businesses. They put in more work to protect corporations from liability instead of protecting our communities from the virus and its economic consequences. Some tried to block the inclusion of survival checks, and others tried to hamper the ability of the incoming Biden Administration to combat this crisis.
“There is still more to be done, and we will need to get to work immediately in the new Congress to pass yet another bill before the expiration of the eviction and student loan moratoriums. We have the ability to save both lives and livelihoods, and future relief packages should reflect this.”
Some key provisions of the package include:
- Rep. Grijalva’s Native American Suicide Prevention Act: Requires states to work with tribes and tribal entities when implementing suicide prevention programs.
- Vaccine Distribution and Testing: Billions in aid for widespread testing and distribution of the vaccine, including specific funding to combat the spread of the virus in communities of color.
- Ends Surprise Medical Billing, Funds Community Health Centers, Teaching Health Centers and Special Diabetes Program: Includes legislation to end surprise billing and continue mandatory funding for health centers and diabetes programs.
- Small Business Support: $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and expands eligibility to include nonprofits and local newspapers, radio, and TV broadcasters. $15 billion in funds specifically for live music venues and cultural institutions. $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants.
- Rental Assistance and Eviction Moratorium: Includes $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of the eviction moratorium until Jan. 31, 2021.
- Enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and provides for $300 a week more in enhanced benefits.
- Supports Paid Sick Leave: Provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave.
- Strengthened Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Employee Retention Tax Credit: Ensures that families in need receive a strong tax credit and help keep workers in the jobs during coronavirus closures.
- Nutrition Assistance: $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits
- Direct Checks: $600 check for adults and children and ensures that mixed-status families will receive the benefit.
- Education and Childcare: $82 billion for colleges and schools to safely reopen and $10 billion for childcare assistance.
- Expansion of Pell Grants: Will reach 500,000 new students and ensure 1.5 million receive the maximum benefit.
- Broadband Expansion: $7 billion in broadband expansion including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit to help students, workers, and the unemployed afford broadband.
- Relief for the US Postal Service: $10 billion in funding to help the USPS weather the pandemic.