Dear Colleague to All Members on Next Steps on CARES Act and CARES 2
As you know, our nation faces a crisis of staggering proportions, with a deadly virus and a battered economy. The numbers are devastating: more than 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, more than 8,000 tragically dead, 6.6 million initial unemployment claims and 700,000 jobs lost in the March jobs report.
Working together, we took strong steps to address this crisis by passing three bipartisan bills in the month of March, starting with testing, testing, testing. The CARES Act signed by the President on March 28 is an historic relief package putting Workers First by providing desperately-needed support for working families and small businesses across America.
As we do so, the American people expect Congress to ensure that the over $2 trillion investment of their taxpayer money is spent wisely and effectively. For that specific purpose, the House is establishing the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. This narrowly-tailored Committee will be laser-focused on taxpayer money going to workers’ paychecks and benefits, not being exploited by profiteers and price-gougers. Just as the Truman Committee saved lives and billions of taxpayer dollars by preventing waste, fraud and abuse during World War II, the Select Committee will provide the accountability and transparency that the American people demand and deserve.
At the same time, the acceleration of the coronavirus crisis demands that we continue to legislate. We must double down on the down-payment we made in the CARES Act by passing a CARES 2 package, which will extend and expand this bipartisan legislation to meet the needs of the American people. CARES 2 must go further in assisting small businesses including farmers, extending and strengthening unemployment benefits and giving families additional direct payments. We must also provide the desperately needed resources for our state and local governments, hospitals, community health centers, health systems and health workers, first responders and other providers on the frontlines of this crisis.
Our communities cannot afford to wait, and we must move quickly. It is my hope that we will craft this legislation and bring it to the Floor later this month.
The American people have hearts full of love for the health care workers, first responders and all others risking their lives to save lives, who desperately need Personal Protective Equipment to protect themselves and ventilators and drugs to heal.
Thank you for your leadership during this sad and challenging time for our country, over which we will prevail.
Please accept my warmest personal wishes to you and your families as we approach Holy Week and Easter, Passover and Ramadan.