After days of Democratic obstruction, the U.S. Senate today unanimously cleared a bipartisan package to provide immediate and prolonged economic relief to American families, workers, employers and health care providers coping with the coronavirus pandemic. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) marshalled direct recovery payments, expanded unemployment insurance and a slate of individual and business tax relief policies to help families cover their expenses and preserve jobs. The legislation, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by a vote of 96-0 after Democrats blocked similar versions on Sunday and Monday.
“Across our nation, Americans are doing their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Through no fault of their own, Americans are being ordered to stay home or close their businesses. As a result, this health crisis is quickly becoming an economic crisis. This bipartisan legislation rapidly delivers recovery checks to help individuals and families cover their immediate expenses. It also helps businesses of all sizes keep employees on the payroll throughout the crisis and ensures that those who are furloughed or laid off have access to beefed up unemployment insurance. The bill also provides a much-needed infusion of cash to our health care professionals who are fighting the pandemic on the front lines.
“For days, I worked with my Democratic colleagues to craft key tax- and health-related provisions as well as the recovery checks and unemployment insurance. It’s a bipartisan product that regrettably was hijacked and delayed because of partisan politics. But the important thing is that it’s finally approved in the Senate. I urge the Speaker of the House to immediately pass this critical relief for the American people, even if it means ending their week-long recess. The needless delays in the Senate have run out the clock. There’s no more time to waste,” Grassley said.
The CARES Act is the single largest economic aid package in American history aimed at combatting a health crisis not seen in living memory. It comprises policies from various bipartisan task forces to deliver relief through immediate payments, deferred tax collection, small business loans, stabilization for the hardest hit sectors of the economy and expanded unemployment insurance available to more workers than ever before.
Details of the Grassley-led provisions are available HERE. Grassley also introduced the COVID-19 Funding Accountability Act to safeguard taxpayer dollars by deploying similar oversight tools as those used in the 2008 economic stimulus package. Portions of this bill were included in the CARES Act.