House Passes Dr. Ruiz’s Priorities in COVID Relief Bill
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan COVID relief package. The legislation includes Dr. Ruiz’s priorities to provide funds for research related to COVID-19’s long-term health effects as well as funds for health programs in underserved Tribal communities. The package also includes $600 stimulus checks to individuals, $300 per week in extended unemployment insurance, money for schools to reopen safely and expand remote learning, and more.
“My constituents are struggling and in need of urgent relief to get through this pandemic,” said Dr. Ruiz (CA-36). “While this legislation falls well short of what our country needs, I will support this relief bill because many of my constituents are on the verge of being evicted; losing their business; losing their job; having their unemployment insurance run out; and are food insecure. Our frontline providers need more resources to combat the virus, and our economy needs assistance. The delay in aid could have been avoided if Senator McConnell would have brought up any of the Democratic aid packages or any Senate package for a vote at an earlier time. I will continue to fight for robust relief with the new Administration to safely and quickly end the pandemic, boost our local economy, and build back better.”
Included in the end-of-year deal is Dr. Ruiz’s priority laid out in the Tribal Health Care Protection Fund Act. The bill provides $1 billion in emergency funding to Tribal health programs to replace lost revenue and other COVID-19 related expenses in underserved tribal communities.
Also included in the package is $1.25 billion to support research and clinical trials related to the long-term effects of COVID-19, as well as continued support for Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for COVID-19 – something Dr. Ruiz has advocated for this year.
In addition to the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, the spending package contains $900 billion in emergency coronavirus relief to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people. Among its provisions, the bill provides:
- A new round of direct payments worth up to $600 per adult and child;
- A $300 per week unemployment insurance enhancement for Americans out of work, including gig workers, freelancers, and the self-employed;
- $325 billion for small businesses, including $284 billion to extend the Payment Protection Program through March 31st and to extend eligibility for tourism boards, chambers of commerce, newspapers, and other non-profits.
- $81 billion to help schools operate and continue educating through remote learning;
- An extension on the Centers for Disease Control rental eviction moratorium through January 31st;
- $3.2 billion to help low-income families access broadband;
- $20 billion for EIDL grants, which provide $10,000 grants to eligible applicants in low-income communities that did not secure grants because funding ran out.
- $25 billion in rental assistance to help with rental and energy costs;
- $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the COVID hunger crisis;
- And $15 billion for independent movie theaters and entertainment venues.