Underwood Hosts Town Hall on Coronavirus Relief Package and Federal Funding Legislation

December 23, 2020
Press Release
The legislation delivers urgently needed relief to support small businesses, accelerate COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and deliver direct payments to Illinoisans

WEST CHICAGO— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) hosted a Facebook Live Town Hall on the coronavirus relief and federal funding package that passed the house Monday evening. During the town hall, Underwood discussed the legislation and shared how it will help northern Illinois communities. The legislation includes critical wins that Underwood has fought for to deliver urgently needed relief to support small businesses, accelerate COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and deliver direct payments to Illinoisans.

"It’s been an incredibly tough year for Illinois communities, and we have all been tested by this pandemic. This much-needed bipartisan legislation will deliver emergency coronavirus relief and a fund our federal government to help save the lives and livelihoods of the American people,” said Underwood. “I will continue to fight for more financial relief until our economy has fully recovered from the pandemic."

A full video of Underwood’s town hall can be found here.

A one-pager of the legislation can be found here.

Underwood priorities for the 14th District in the coronavirus relief legislation includes:

  • Accelerating the Vaccine Distribution– We know that we cannot get our economy working unless we can get the coronavirus under control. The legislation will accelerate the free and equitable distribution of vaccines so Illinoisans can get access to a vaccine as soon as possible. It also implements a strong national testing and tracing strategy with billions to support our heroic health care workers and providers. 
  • Delivering Money Directly to the American People – The legislation provides another round of direct relief payments worth up to $600 per adult and $600 per child.
  • For Illinoisans who have been unemployed during this time: We averted the sudden expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits, added a $300 per week Unemployment Insurance enhancement from December 26 through March 14, and lengthened the number of weeks an unemployed worker can receive benefits by 11 weeks. The law also ensures self-employed, gig, freelance and part-time workers remain eligible for federal unemployment insurance.
  • Providing critically needed emergency rental assistance and extends the eviction moratorium—This package establishes the first-ever emergency federal rental assistance program which will give people funds to pay past due rent, future rent payments, and utility bills. It also extends the existing CDC moratorium through January 31, so that the rental assistance program can take effect.
  • Delivering Key Tax Benefits for Families– The legislation includes to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit that help ensure that families who faced unemployment or reduced wages during the pandemic are able to receive a larger tax credit.
  • Helping Our Students – The agreement provides funding for schools, including support for air conditioning and filtration systems to help reopen classrooms. School districts from across our community reached out to asking for help to make these critical infrastructure upgrades, because some schools lack air conditioning altogether.
    • Additionally, the legislation approved additional funding to keep child care providers open to provide assistance to providers and help get parents back to work.  
  • Getting More Families Online– Across our community students are still struggling with reliable internet connection. Teachers shared stories of students who had to use the free WIFI available in local fast food restaurant parking lots to get their assignments done because they don’t have enough bandwidth at home. Schools and libraries are doing all they can to connect students with hot spots, but ultimately, we need bigger solutions for this problem. The agreement will help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic and it provides money is to build broadband infrastructure throughout our communities.
  • Delivering Help for Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Restaurants – The package contains critical funding and policy changes to help small businesses. It includes additional forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans including for restaurants and non-profits, and it has a program just for self-employed people and businesses with fewer than 10 employees. There is targeted help for live venues and cultural institutions like museums, and additional grant funds will be available to help many smaller businesses on main streets across IL-14. It also extends and improves the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help keep workers in their jobs during coronavirus closures or periods of reduced revenue and also provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave. 
  • Ending Surprise Medical Billing – No matter if it is an emergency or a planned procedure, more patients will be protected from crushing, surprise medical bills for out-of-network care beyond their control.