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Posted: March 27, 2020


Hoyer Floor Remarks on the CARES Act

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.

“Mr. Speaker, we meet at a challenging time in our country and in the global community. This session will be different than most where we come together, we reach out our hands, we hug one another in affection and thanks for their collegial work with us on the people’s business. People who can see the chamber now will see that we are keeping a distance from one another – not out of hostility, but out of love for one another that we may keep one another healthy and safe. It will, therefore, be an unusual session, but a critical session.

“Mr. Speaker, this legislation represents a bipartisan resolve to meet the coronavirus challenge head-on. It represents a focus on families and workers with the objective of making them safer and economically supported. It will protect workers and their families in our economy as we all do our part to flatten the curve. Public health officials have made it clear that the only chance we have to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed by this pandemic, as it is threated to be, is for as many Americans to stay at home as possible. It is, however, necessary for us to be here to pass legislation to respond on behalf of the American people to this daunting challenge. The closure means that large parts of our economy must be temporarily shut down, causing severe disruption for businesses and workers. We saw the impact of this yesterday when new unemployment insurance claims increased by more than three million people.

“Today, the House is taking action on phase three of our response to this unprecedented challenge. We initially responded, Mr. Speaker, to the immediate need of our nation with an $8.3 billion in appropriations to meet the immediate health needs of our people. A little over two weeks ago, we acted to meet the continuing health and economic needs of our people. That was phase two. This bill, Mr. Speaker, which is phase three of our effort, will increase unemployment insurance benefits to those furloughed or laid off while expanding eligibility to include the self-employed and contract workers and send checks to most Americans and to help them get through this difficult period.

“Mr. Speaker, I am personally disappointed that Senate Republicans insisted on shortchanging the 700,000 people of the District of Columbia by $700 million, treating the District as a territory and not as a state for the purposes of allocating stabilization funds, as is so often the case. This jeopardizes the entire National Capital Region as we work together to prevent further spread of coronavirus. I will be working with Delegate Holmes Norton and our colleagues to enact legislation correcting this injustice, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to accomplish that objective.

“As the number of coronavirus cases in our country rises above 85,000 of our fellow citizens and continues to increase exponentially, we must take swift action to ensure that people can stay home to slow the spread of this deadly virus and that our economy can be supported, so it can rebound when the medical experts and scientists say it is safe to do so.

“I want to thank the Speaker and the Committee Chairs who have worked tirelessly to bring this agreement to fruition, including Chairwoman Nita Lowey, Chairman Frank Pallone, Chairman Richie Neal, Chairman Bobby Scott, Chairman Peter DeFazio, and Chairwoman Maxine Waters, as well as other Chairs who participated in forging this legislation with a bipartisan coalition in the United States Senate. I want to thank as well the extraordinary staff who have worked around the clock in a very short period of time knowing full well the crisis that confronts us and that time is of the essence. Thank you, staff. The staff of each of our committees, our Members, and the leadership – staffs of all three of those entities – and the Members have been working around the clock, literally, Mr. Speaker, around the clock to determine the needs and priorities and meet them.

“The House continues to stand ready to take additional steps, when and as they are needed, to win this battle for the safety and health of our people and our nation. Together, Democrats and Republicans, together, we Americans, we Americans will work together to do our part in fighting against the coronavirus.

“Mr. Speaker, all of us stand in awe and deep gratitude to the millions of Americans who have shown courage and commitment at this dangerous and challenging time. Our doctors; our nurses; our medical personnel; our police; our firefighters and emergency medical response teams; those keeping our pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations and other critical facilities open; and so many in the private and public sector who are daily showing up to serve the needs of their neighbors and fellow citizens. Mr. Speaker, they reflect the best of the home of the brave. It is in times like these that we remind the world and ourselves that we are truly one nation, under God, indivisible, working together to overcome the greatest challenge with the greatest resolve.”


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