The House of Representatives unanimously passed the $ 2 trillion CARES Act this afternoon in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Congressman Chris Smith spoke of the House floor prior to the vote. His remarks are printed and can be viewed below.
“Mr. Speaker, my home state of New Jersey—like many parts of the country and world—has been hard hit by COVID-19. As of today, 6,876 people have tested positive with 81 deaths. Tragically, in my district, four members of one family have died from the virus.
“Containing the Coronavirus pandemic, developing and deploying reliable therapeutics and creating a safe and effective vaccine must be our highest priority—no matter the cost.
“People—especially those on the front lines in health care and first responders—are heroically meeting the challenge, often at great personal cost. Their tenacity, skill and courage—inspire.
“The public-private partnership in my district, state and in the nation is unprecedented.
“The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is comprehensive and absolutely needed. It provides direct financial assistance to taxpayers, $100 billion in grants to hospitals, $150 billion to state and local governments, $350 billion for a new paycheck protection program that provides eight weeks of guaranteed loans to employers who retain their employees, an additional $600 per week for up to four months on top of state unemployment insurance, $25 billion for food assistance and much more.
“Special thanks to President Trump, the Vice President, Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Fauci for their leadership—and the bipartisan and bicameral cooperation on this historic legislation.”