Rep. Peters Votes To Boost Funding for Critical COVID Assistance, Supports Congressional Oversight to Hold the Administration Accountable
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, an interim relief package that provides $484 billion in emergency funding for resources desperately needed by Americans and health care workers to combat the public health crisis and alleviate the economic toll of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Building on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this supplemental bill restores funding for crucial federal assistance programs, allocating $360 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Emergency Insurance Disaster Loans (EIDL) and grants program, with $60 billion set aside for smaller lenders to help ensure smaller businesses in our communities have access to the funds they badly need.
“When the administration began rolling out the CARES Act assistance for small businesses, it became immediately clear that more action and more oversight was needed,” said Rep. Peters. “Not only did these programs run dry within weeks of launching, but it was reported that more than 70 publicly traded companies received PPP money while strapped smaller businesses in San Diego struggled to simply apply. I advocated strongly for an agreement that prioritized funding for the small businesses on Main Street, not bigger businesses with access to capital they would have had even without government support. We also fought to include emergency funds for hospitals and front line medical workers, to get our health care heroes the help they deserve.”
Rep. Peters continued, “In a separate vote, we adopted the formation of a special, bipartisan oversight subcommittee to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy. Transparency and accountability are critical to guarantee the $2 trillion in emergency relief previously passed is used appropriately. This new 12-member panel will examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus, including the proper deployment of health care resources and testing—fundamental to effectively mitigate this deadly pandemic.”
Democrats secured $75 billion to ensure health care workers fighting on the frontlines have the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed to adequately support their COVID-19 response efforts. The package also includes $25 billion to increase testing, the key to reopening the economy, and a national strategic testing policy that focuses on increasing domestic testing capacity.
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act is the fourth COVID-19 response package Congress has taken up since the beginning of the year. In addition to the first CARES Act, passed late last month, the House wrote and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which took steps to strengthen Americans’ health care access and boost financial security through paid sick leave and enhanced unemployment insurance. Earlier in March, the House passed an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental bill to help states, communities and federal agencies combat the spread of the virus.