Bustos Helps Pass Most Significant Relief Package in American History

Legislation puts workers, families first as the U.S. grapples with COVID-19 impact

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), traveled to Washington, D.C. to cast her vote in favor of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the most significant relief package in American history. The legislation puts America’s workers and families first, while strongly bolstering the federal government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

“Today, Congress and the President have the opportunity to come together – even as we must stand apart – to strengthen our communities, face this viral threat head-on, and stand as one for the American people,” said Congresswoman Bustos.

“This bold legislative package will support workers who have lost their jobs, help feed children whose families face uncertain financial futures and build a stronger foundation for the farmers who feed the world, as our nation weathers this storm. No bill is ever perfect, but this bipartisan agreement is a significant step forward in delivering relief.”

The legislation passed the House today and was passed by the Senate earlier this week. It is expected to be signed into law soon.

Congresswoman Bustos spoke on the House Floor in support of the historic legislation. Watch the speech here.

Highlights of the CARES Act Package Include:

  • $260 Billion in Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Provides an additional $600 per week for the next four months, as well as an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits, and expands eligibility to include self-employed workers and independent contractors.
  • Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans:  Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. 
  • More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants. Family farms are eligible for small business relief, in addition to flexible credit programs included in the legislation.
  • Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research:  Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment (PPEs) desperately needed by our health care workers.

Congresswoman Bustos’ Remarks on the House Floor

Below is a transcript of Congresswoman Bustos’ remarks on the House Floor today. You can view the video here.

Madam speaker –

I rise in support of the CARES act.

Yesterday, the United States became the country with the most known COVID-19 cases in the world.

And we are all concerned…

… for our families, for our friends, for our farmers and for our futures.

But, today, we have the opportunity to take a step forward, to come together – even as we must stand apart – to help our fellow Americans, to strengthen our communities and to face this threat – as one.

Illinois workers are afraid they will lose their jobs – if they have not already.

Small businesses are making hard decisions between keeping staff… Or closing their doors.

And our farmers, who have already endured so much pain, are worried sick about what is ahead this year — not only because of this worldwide pandemic, but also because of the threats of more flooding.

That is why I join you on the house floor today, to cast my vote for the most significant relief package in American history.

This vital legislation will help struggling Americans make ends meet.

It will expand unemployment insurance to help those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

It will help small businesses secure precious dollars to keep their employees and communities afloat.

And it will help our farmers – who have always stood with us – to provide much-needed resources to feed the world.

This bill is not perfect. No bill ever is.

But it is the strong medicine we need to defeat this invisible enemy.

Let us come together today to pass this bill—and declare that no virus will ever tear this country apart.