From the Raising Women's Voices :
Today, Congress is expected to give final approval to a $2.2 trillion relief package designed to respond to both the health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The president has said he will sign it. Called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the package is also known as “phase 3” because two earlier COVID-related funding bills have already been enacted (including one we covered last week), this week’s package is the largest spending bill (by far) ever passed in the United States — 2.8 times bigger than the 2009 stimulus package. The bill came together quickly over the course of 10 days and was negotiated largely without public input.
There have been conflicting reports about what the package does and does not do, and we may not know for weeks what certain provisions mean in practice or how the administration is going to implement them. But we can give you a sense of the top line impact on women and families.
Based on our initial reviews of the legislation, the bill does the following things:
As massive as the package is, however, it almost certainly doesn’t go far enough in helping families, funding health care or preparing for the future. One indication of how deep the looming recession is likely to be: initial unemployment claims spiked to 3.3 million last week, more than quadrupling the highest number of initial jobless claims ever recorded in the US. (For contrast, initial unemployment claims peaked at 665,000 during the Great Recession.)
Members of Congress are already talking about a possible “phase 4” COVID-19 package. But alarmingly, both chambers are preparing to recess for weeks without a clear plan in place for how to vote (or meet with constituents) in the face of this once-in-a-century pandemic. What happens if our senators and representatives can’t fly back to Washington for a vote? How can Congress hold the Trump administration accountable for their disastrous handling of the pandemic, or push for increased production of health care equipment, if they aren’t here?
Sara Finger, Executive Director