Underwood-Backed Legislation to Provide Urgent Relief to Illinois Communities Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic Passes the House

March 27, 2020
Press Release
The CARES Act provides economic assistance to families, small businesses, and health systems

WASHINGTON— Today, Represen­tative Lauren Underwood (IL-14) supported the passage of bipartisan legislation to help Illinois families impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides economic assistance to families, small businesses, and health systems. Ahead of the passage of this bill, Underwood sought input from northern Illinois small business owners, public health officials, and families to ensure the needs of the 14th District were included in the Congressional relief packages. The CARES Act will now head to the President’s desk for his signature.

“It has been a terribly hard week for our community in northern Illinois. Over twenty-five hundred Illinoisans have been diagnosed with coronavirus, twenty six of whom have lost their lives. Countless more are in need of testing, and thousands of our heroic frontline health care providers desperately need personal protective equipment,” Rep. Underwood said. “The CARES Act will help our health care systems and our state and local governments meet the enormous challenges they are facing as our country continues to fight this virus. It provides immediate economic relief for individuals, billions in small business loans and grants, and improved unemployment protections. This historic legislation puts the health and wellbeing of families and workers first so we can recover and rebuild from this virus and come back stronger.

Full video on Underwood’s floor speech on the passage on the CARES Act can be found here.

Underwood Priorities for the 14th District included in the CARES Act can be found here.

Here are just a few of the numerous initiatives in this historic piece of legislation that will benefit Illinoisans:

  • A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund:  Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.  It is estimated that our state of Illinois will receive approximately $4,914,000,000 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents.
  • $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits:  Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
  • Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans:  Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
  • More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief:  Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
  • More than $100 Billion for Our Hospitals and Health Care Workers:  Provides an investment of more than $100 billion in direct funding for hospitals and health systems to support their urgent needs in response to COVID-19 and to protect our health care workers with the personal protective equipment their patients’ safety and their own.
  • More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
    • Transit Agencies:  Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented.  This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. Illinois will receive $1,615,873,750 billion under this program.
    • HUD Emergency Solution Grants:  Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance.  Of this $2 billion, our state will receive $98,949,834 million. In addition, the bill provides an additional $2 billion for these grants that will be allocated by HUD to the most hard-pressed areas.
    • Child Care and Development Block Grant:  Supports child care and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.  Illinois will receive $117,547,157 million under this emergency appropriation.
    • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP):  Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Illinois will receive $ $13,004,000 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.
    • Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program:  Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency.  Illinois will receive $31,913,921 million under this appropriation.
    • CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants:  Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and Tribal Grants to help agencies cope with the public health emergency.  The minimum award for our state is $16,297,000 million.  In addition, states can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
    • Election Assistance:  Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections.  Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals.  Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration.  Illinois will receive $13,899,434 million for these purposes.