Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) issued the following statement on the House passage of the Omnibus and Coronavirus Relief bill.
“Over 315,000* Americans are dead. 3 out of every 4 small businesses have seen their revenues fall, and thousands have shut their doors for good. Food insecurity has doubled for families with children, and millions of Americans are turning to food banks for the first time. In most states, 1 in 5 households are behind on rent. More than 10 million people are unemployed.
“But it’s been over six months since the House passed the Heroes Act, comprehensive legislation to address these issues months ago. And all this time, Republicans have refused to lift a finger to provide relief to struggling families. It is shameful that it took this long for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to come to the table.
“And let me be clear—$600 in direct payments and an additional $300 per week in unemployment is not enough—in fact, it’s just half of the aid that we passed in the CARES Act.
“So, while I am disappointed in my Republican colleagues and recognize this bill is not ideal or as comprehensive as the Heroes Act—it will provide some much-needed relief to the American people until we can pass a more robust stimulus under the Biden Administration.
“I’d particularly like to thank all the staff from member offices, to committee offices, to leadership and floor staff, who worked long hours and through the weekend to help put this package together.
“For small businesses, this bill takes action to authorize a second round of PPP loans to the hardest hit businesses. Importantly, it will set-aside funding reserved for small businesses with 10 or fewer employees and those in underserved communities. It also utilizes small banks and mission-based community lenders to guarantee fair access to small employers.
“And finally, this bill provides for what we have been hearing on the ground from small businesses—the need for cash infusions through grants. By establishing new guardrails and allocating $20 billion to the EIDL grant program, we are targeting the hardest hit small businesses to receive these grants.
“Meanwhile, as shuttered entertainment venues, including our cultural institutions and movie theaters, that depend on large crowds to survive have been closed by the pandemic and faced difficulties accessing PPP and other SBA programs, this bill creates a new $15 billion dollar grant program to target these establishments that have experienced a dramatic decline in revenue.
“But our efforts do not end here. We will continue to seek more assistance next year because Main Street, especially our independent restaurants, and working families deserve for us to come back to the table to provide a lifeline while we await vaccine distributions.
“So today, I’m voting yes but I urge my fellow members, let’s not stop here. Let’s come back in January and pass more relief for the American people.”
* As of 01.22.2021 there are over 410K deaths from COVID-19 in the United States, and 24.7M cases of COVID-19.