April 3, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 65 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
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] MIDDLE CLASS HEALTH BENEFITS TAX REPEAL ACT OF 2019 ______ 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. ____________________