WASHINGTON — The so-called coronavirus stimulus bill passed the U.S. House on Friday and was quickly signed by President Donald Trump.
Pennsylvania’s federal legislators weren’t completely happy with the bill, but all were in favor of the aid to the American public.
On Friday, after the House passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., said the bill includes an expansion of unemployment insurance, relief and resources for health care providers, and more.
“Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Americans need assurances from the federal government,” Thompson said Friday. “Today we took a giant step toward providing what certainty we can. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act delivers resources to save lives, save jobs, and save the American economy.
He continued, “Together, with the Trump Administration, state and local leaders, the private sector, and most importantly our neighbors and communities, we will continue to support American families during this challenging time and we will prevail.”
The U.S. Senate passed the measure on Wednesday.
“A lethal pathogen has invaded our country, killing hundreds and making tens of thousands ill,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. “In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, employers across the country, including in Pennsylvania, have been forced to close. Our economy is shutting down and millions of Americans are unable to work, travel, or simply enjoy common aspects of life.
“For financially-stressed families and workers who are furloughed or laid off, the CARES Act delivers direct payments and expanded unemployment benefits. The CARES Act aims to keep this economic contraction from becoming a full-blown depression through crucial lending programs for businesses — small and large — so they can survive an extended period with little or no revenue,” the senator continued.
Toomey said the bill gives billions in aid to hospitals, researchers developing a vaccine and to healthcare workers and first responders. However, he continued, the bill was “far from perfect.”
“Unfortunately, it contains policies that waste taxpayer money and others that create unhelpful incentives,” Toomey said. “Nevertheless, this bill will do much more good than harm. This crisis demands this action and the Senate delivered.”
For his part, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., had harsh words for Republicans who he claimed were looking out for special interests instead of families.
“We held firm in our insistence that the health and security of Americans must take precedence over corporate bailouts,” Casey said. The bill contained “significant funding to combat this public health emergency including a $150 billion ‘Marshall Plan’ for hospitals, nursing homes and community health centers, providing them with the resources they desperately need. It includes necessary aid to workers and families like an unprecedented investment in unemployment insurance, and over $377 billion in immediate relief for small businesses and additional resources for medium-sized businesses. I am also pleased that it includes provisions from my bill, the Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act, to support seniors at home, including new resources and flexibilities for nutrition services, and to protect nursing home residents from this terrible virus.”
Casey continued, “This legislation must be the beginning of Congress’ efforts to address this public health crisis and stabilize our economy, not the end. I will continue to press for additional action and push the Administration to get money out the door quickly and ensure that Americans receive the immediate relief they need.”