Phillips Applauds Passage Of CARES Act Stimulus Package

March 27, 2020
Press Release
Phillips helped secure key oversight legislation with the inclusion of a Congressional Oversight Commission

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Dean Phillips applauded House passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which was subsequently signed into law by the President hours later. Phillips flew to Washington to ensure his presence in the event of a recorded vote, but the bill was ultimately voice voted for quick passage. The Senate passed the bill late Wednesday on a 96-0 recorded vote.

The legislation provides immediate support for our country’s most vulnerable and impacted populations, healthcare system, and small businesses. The package is the third in a series of bills passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump to respond to the growing coronavirus epidemic.

Congressman Phillips advocated for greater oversight and accountability over a $500 billion Treasury Department fund for large businesses and state and local governments, and introduced a bill, the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) Act, that ultimately was included in the final legislation. The mechanism creates a five-person Congressional Oversight Commission and Special Inspector General to increase transparency, prevent corruption and ensure taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively.

“From the very beginning of the crisis I was committed to protecting our most vulnerable and impacted communities, and providing a lifeline to small businesses to keep the lights on and maintain employees on the payroll,” Phillips said. “This bill is imperfect, but I am pleased that both parties placed people over politics and quickly developed an unprecedented package to support Americans’ health and well-being during this critical time in our nation’s history. We have challenging days ahead, but this legislation will help ease the pain and put us on the road to recovery.”

Over the past weeks, Congressman Phillips has communicated with and solicited feedback from hundreds of constituents and leaders in the public health, small business, non-profit, and public service communities – including conference calls with local mayors and fire chiefs – which inspired advocacy for and improvements to the final legislation.

Constituents and businesses in Minnesota’s Third District seeking assistance or guidance to access resources in the legislation should contact my office here

Within the final text, highlights include:

  • Protecting Government Integrity
    • Establishes a Congressional Oversight Commission to review spending, create reporters, and conduct hearings and investigations
    • Establishes a Special Inspector General empowered to prevent corruption and increase transparency.
    • Real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations.  
    • No stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the Treasury plus 1 year.
    • Restrictions on any increases to executive compensation.
  • Protecting Small Businesses
    • $350 billion in loans to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities. These can be forgivable when certain requirements are met.
    • $10 billion for Small Business Administration emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
    • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
  • Protecting Healthcare professionals
    • Establishes a $150 billion emergency fund for our hospitals and medical professionals.
    • $150 billion in aid to state, local and tribal governments.
    • Provides funding for personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, emergency operation centers and more. 
    • Delivers Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers to ensure that they receive the funding they need during this crisis, and new investments in our country’s Strategic National Stockpile, surge capacity and medical research into COVID-19.
  • Protecting American Families
    • Direct cash payments to most American families.
    • Extends available unemployment benefits by 13 weeks.
    • Allows part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers to access to unemployment benefits.
    • $20 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs for expanded veteran assistance, worker pay and tele-health. 
    • $100 million for firefighters to purchase protective equipment.
    • Tax relief encouraging employers to implement student loan repayment programs.
    • Protected 2 million airline industry jobs.