Historic Senate Relief Package for Coronavirus Pandemic

Bipartisan deal reached for landmark stimulus package that addresses healthcare and economic concerns.

March 25, 2020

On March 25th, the Senate finally voted in favor of the third piece of legislation to respond to the economic impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the novel coronavirus. 

Here is what the legislation covers:

  • $1,200 in direct payments 
  • $500 billion loan program for businesses
  • Expanded funds for public health facilities and workers
  • Increased unemployment insurance
  • Increased aid to state and local governments
  • $367 billion in small business loans 

The Senate CARES Act contains significant investments in healthcare capacity, while also expanding access to and the amount of current unemployment benefits. However, it falls woefully short of even the most moderate paid sick leave and emergency medical leave accommodations. It contains the same bailout funding to large-scale industries, but concedes oversight over the $500 billion loan program. It provides over $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs, but does not provide preventative healthcare measures for those without private insurance programs, which is the case for many immigrants and people experiencing homelessness. 

COVID-19 represents a significant shock to our healthcare and economic system. Early projections indicate that upwards of 2 million people may die as a result of coronavirus without measures taken to address the outbreak. These measures are being taken across the country, but with varying degrees of success and enforcement. Even still, these preventative measures are currently grinding the economy to a halt, putting millions of people out of work and further underscoring the need for aggressive government intervention in the economy and healthcare system. Given this forecast, the CARES Act falls short of the moment. 

The CARES Act will now move to the House, where it is expected to pass. While it will likely pass into law, there is still time to influence Congress to pass additional provisions in future legislation. Contact your Representatives and tell them to support the progressive policies we have outlined in our COVID-19 Policy Recommendations as amendments to the CARES Act.

If the CARES Act passes, a push for additional legislation will begin shortly thereafter. We will continue to push legislators for additional provisions for those in need. This means building alliances with other civil society organizations and amplifying state and local efforts to respond to this crisis.



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