MIDDLE CLASS HEALTH BENEFITS TAX REPEAL ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 65
(Extensions of Remarks - April 03, 2020)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E349]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                               speech of

                           HON. JAHANA HAYES

                             of connecticut

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, March 27, 2020

  Mrs. HAYES. Mr. Speaker, the novel coronavirus, has become a global 
pandemic that has brought us to the brink. Connecticut has been hit 
particularly hard by this virus, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases 
to date. Nonessential businesses in my state have been shuttered, 
crippling our local economy, squeezing small businesses, and causing 
painful layoffs. Our hospitals, frontline health workers, and first 
responders are overwhelmed working without enough resources, personal 
protective equipment, and tests to combat the rapid spread of this 
unrelenting disease.
  There is no more time to waste. Congress must act now to combat this 
virus and get the states and the American people the support and 
resources they need. I applaud House leadership for their hard work on 
this bill and for getting a deal for the American people. I was indeed 
frustrated that big business seemingly stepped to the front of the line 
in earlier proposals, but I commend my colleagues for pushing back 
against toxic provisions that would bail out those corporations, no 
strings attached, without providing the requisite support to hospitals 
and everyday Americans.
  This bill is not perfect, and does not include everything I advocated 
for, but it does include critical funding that will save lives and help 
my constituents in Connecticut's 5th District recover from the economic 
fallout of this public health crisis. It includes $150 billion for our 
health care system, nearly $16 billion for veteran health care, over 
$20 billion for SNAP, WIC, and other nutrition programs, direct 
payments to Americans to help with the financial burden this virus has 
caused, over $350 billion in funding for small businesses and 
nonprofits, $150 billion in grants for states and local municipalities, 
the expansion of unemployment benefits to make sure workers everywhere 
can land on their feet after losing their job. Finally, it provides 
over $35 billion for early childhood education programs, K through 12 
schools, and higher education institutions in response to the severe 
disruptions caused by the pandemic--including funds that will help 
students and teachers with distance learning.
  This third relief package is a monumental step forward, but more work 
needs to be done to respond to this public health and economic 
emergency. When future legislation is being discussed, I hope to 
include more relief for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel, who 
are the first responders in many of the communities in my district. 
Their work is so vitally important, now more than ever, and we must 
ensure they have the proper equipment and protections in place to do 
their jobs. I hope more funding will be made available for rural health 
providers in the Northwestern Corner of Connecticut. We must help the 
Postal Service and its employees, which have been hit hard by the 
effects of the virus. I want to see more support for teachers as they 
adapt to a new reality of distance learning, and more relief for 
student loan borrowers. I hope that we will see an expansion in funding 
for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is 
particularly important as we look to combat the alarmingly high rates 
of infection in nursing homes.
  The impact that this virus is having on my district, Connecticut, and 
our nation, cannot be understated, and we must do everything to help 
Americans overcome the challenges we are facing. Now is the time for 
unity, cooperation and immediate action. For these reasons I support 
this bill and look forward to it being signed into law.