March 27, 2020

Castro Statement on CARES Act

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, today released the following statement in response to the CARES Act:

“Congress must meet the enormous health care and financial needs of the American people in this unprecedented moment. This bill will provide some financial relief for Americans, provide hospitals desperately needed funds, and inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. While it will undoubtedly help Americans, I had hoped that the bill would offer more relief to regular Americans rather than corporate conglomerates.

“Many of the folks I represent were struggling before the COVID-19 crisis. Too few had health insurance, access to paid leave or enough cash on hand to pay for unexpected costs. They require affordable and accessible healthcare, mandatory paid leave, and the peace of mind that their government is working for them, not for corporations. But given the sensitivity of time and the make-up of this Congress, this is the best deal on the table.

“There’s still much work to do to make sure that everyone in American society gets help. The victims of this bill’s negotiation — for example, immigrants who work and pay taxes but will receive no check — deserve assistance in the weeks ahead. After all, they too are part of our nation’s economy and success. And they are human beings also losing jobs, panicked that loved ones may get sick and fearful of an ungrateful government that sees them as invaders rather than the essential workers that this virus has proven them to be.

“The new legislation appears to be a big improvement from the original Senate proposal. We have adopted the House proposal to improve unemployment benefits through an additional $600 per week benefit for the next four weeks, an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanded eligibility to include contractor and self-employed workers. The bill places a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters in federally subsidized apartments and homes with federally backed mortgages, but I believe we should have also incorporated rent delays, mortgage freezes, and other basic cost reductions that will ease the real anxiety of everyday Americans.

“Congress has more to do to help Americans navigate this global pandemic. I am working day and night to protect San Antonians from the economic blow of this crisis and ensure that Congress advocates for real Americans, not corporations. As a state and as a nation, we will get through this.”

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