Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Third Emergency Funding Bill Passes Congress by Unanimous Consent; Congress Must Do More

March 27, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DCToday, Congress passed — by unanimous consent — H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third emergency relief funding bill passed this month to help address the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. She urged Congress to do more in the coming days and weeks to address the individual and public health needs to defeat the threat of this disease and overcome this public health crisis. 
 
“After days of negotiations, the House of Representatives passed its third emergency relief bill to help address the coronavirus crisis. While I have grave concerns about the vast corporate bailouts included in the bill, this legislation provides urgent and vital resources directly to the people of Hawai‘i, their families, and to small business owners across America who are struggling and in need. It includes a one-time, direct payment for most adults and families across the country, expands unemployment insurance to four months for all workers who are finding themselves without an income, as well as grants and loans for small business owners to help them weather the hardship of this crisis,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “I will continue to fight for a monthly emergency basic payment to provide certainty for Americans during this crisis, as outlined in my legislation introduced weeks ago, and will continue to work every day to increase testing capabilities for our state and across the country, and to get the resources and protective equipment to our doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals who are battling this pandemic every day.”
 
Background: H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is the third bill passed by Congress as part of its emergency response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i. 
 
This bill provides:
  • Help for individuals, including:
    • Direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child
    • Extending unemployment insurance to four months, bolstered by $600 weekly, and expanding eligibility to cover more workers such as gig economy workers, freelancers, and furloughed workers
  • Help for small businesses, including:
    • Over $350 billion in financial aid via guaranteed loans to small businesses, including to some independent contractors and self-employed individuals.
    • $10 billion to expand the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program
    • Deferring some employer’s payroll taxes through the end of 2020
  • Funding for healthcare, including:
    • $150 Billion for hospitals and other health-care providers for equipment and supplies
    • $185 to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs, and poison control centers
    • Funding for community health centers and allows them to offer telehealth services
    • $945 million for the National Institute of Health
    • $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile for critical medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and life-saving medicine;
    • $250 million for the Hospital Preparedness Program
    • $200 million to assist nursing homes with infection control
  • Support for education, including: 
    • $30.7 billion to help schools and colleges weather the impact of campus closures
    • $3.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant and $750 million for Head Start 
    • $3 billion as emergency support grants to local educational agencies
    • $50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand digital network access
  • Assistance for Housing and Communities, including:
    • $1 billion for the Community Services Block Grant
    • $900 million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
    • $300 million for social security
    • $955 million to support nutrition programs, home and community based services, support for family caregivers, and expand oversight and protections for seniors and individuals with disabilities
    • $15.5 billion in additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs in order to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session
    • $3 billion in funding to support economic development
  • $1.5 billion to support States, locals, territories, and tribes in their efforts to conduct public health activities, including purchase of personal protective equipment, surveillance for coronavirus, laboratory testing to detect positive cases, contact tracing to identify additional cases, infection control and mitigation at the local level to prevent the spread of the virus, and other public health preparedness and response activities.
 
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and her team in Washington and Hawai‘i have been working since the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak to understand the needs on the ground in order to address them through Congress and in the district — by helping keep constituents informed on the latest developments as well as casework assistance.
 
Working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, she sent two letters calling on President Trump to Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.
 
Rep. Gabbard has hosted two telephone town hall events, on March 18 and March 25, in order to update Hawai ‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as community leaders to answer questions from across the state.
 
She has also created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sent out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.
 
On March 21, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus
 
Rep. Gabbard voted to pass the first round of emergency funds to address the novel coronavirus. Some Federal funds are already reaching Hawai‘i. The first coronavirus emergency funding bill that I helped pass in Congress has now led to over $750,000 being allocated to 14 community health centers in our district.
 
Rep. Gabbard voted on March 14 to pass H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.
 
Rep. Gabbard also introduced H.Res. 897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.
 
As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they can guarantee all passengers will be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.
 
In order to ensure that any treatment developed for COVID-19 is accessible and affordable, Rep. Gabbard joined a letter to President Trump demanding that pharmaceutical companies are not issued exclusive licenses for the production of such treatments or capitalize on drugs that have been funded by taxpayer dollars.
 
Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.
 
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
 
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