March 27, 2020

Casten Statement on Passage of the CARES Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) released the following statement after the House passed the bipartisan H.R. 748, the CARES Act, a third measure to help combat COVID-19 or novel coronavirus pandemic. The package contains $2 trillion in aid to individuals, businesses, and states.

Casten said, "Today I voted for the bipartisan CARES Act. While I'm pleased the bill includes increased funding for state and local governments, and more funds for our families and workers, specifically through more paid emergency leave, unemployment insurance, nutrition support, and small business relief, ultimately, the bill falls short. I would have liked to see more worker protections and increased environmental standards.

"It's clear we need to act quickly as this pandemic continues to spread. This bill provides fast relief to the millions of Americans across the country, but there's no question it's far from perfect. We still have more work to do ensure resources get to those who need them most. I'm going to continue working tirelessly so that our workers, families, doctors, nurses and small businesses all have the support they need to get through this emergency."

The CARES act includes:

  • $200 billion investment in hospitals, health systems and health research.
  • $150 billion for state and local governments.
  • $250 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers. An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits to be made available immediately.
  • $377 billion infusion of fast relief for small businesses and made rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
  • More than $30 billion in emergency education funding and eliminated income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer.

The CARES act build upon the bipartisan H.R. 6201 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which Casten voted for earlier this month and was signed into law. The legislation included free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave, additional access to food assistance for those in need, and dedicated funding to bolster state's public health capacity.

Casten also helped pass the first emergency response package earlier this month. The $8.3 billion funding package consisted of emergency funding for state and local health agencies, vaccine development, and small business loans to lessen economic damage.