April 23, 2020

Castro Statement on the Passage of Interim Emergency COVID-19 Relief Package

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 after voting on the fourth coronavirus relief package: 

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented health and economic crisis: more than 850,000 individuals have been infected, over 48,000 of our fellow Americans have died, and over 26 million workers have lost their jobs. Behind the numbers, people are in pain and in need of relief from their government.

“I voted in support of this interim emergency bill to give much-needed relief for small businesses, support health care workers, and expand testing capacity. We can only safely reopen our economy by testing, treating, and stopping the spread of this virus.

“But for the additional $25 billion to ramp up testing, the $75 billion for health care workers, and the $60 billion for community-based and mid-size lenders to keep workers employed by small businesses, too many people who need help would have been left out.

“The Trump Administration is mismanaging the PPP program and failing to allocate relief to the small businesses that need it most. We have already seen examples from Ruth’s Chris steakhouse and Shake Shack to former Trump Administration officials’ companies receiving funding reserved for mom and pop shops. Congress and the Congressional Oversight Commission will hold corruption and fraud accountable to the American people.

“This interim bill does not provide hazard pay for frontline workers or additional stimulus checks for working families, and fails to remedy the exclusion of mixed status families with American citizen children, tax-paying immigrant workers with ITIN numbers, and farmworkers who face the ongoing threat of deportation and suffer from deprivation without economic assistance. These shortcomings are an injustice.

“The Trump Administration and Senate Republicans refused to include funding for local and state governments, abandoning first responders, police officers, fire fighters, EMT workers, and public health officials in the middle of a national emergency. The argument from the Administration that resources for states and localities will deter them from getting folks back to work is absurd. The lack of leadership from Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, and their enablers like John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, is a complete abdication of responsibility.

“I hope that in the next coronavirus recovery package, we provide the relief to frontline workers risking their lives, to humble families trying to survive, to the small business struggling stay afloat, to immigrants serving as essential workers, and to the most vulnerable people who are hurting the most. We have more work to do.” 

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