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Colorado members of Congress react to passage, signing of $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package

Colorado members of Congress react to passage, signing of $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package
Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 27, 2020

DENVER – President Donald Trump signed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act – the federal government’s coronavirus economic relief package – on Friday afternoon after the House passed the bill by a voice vote earlier in the day.

We gathered up reaction from all of Colorado’s members of Congress on the passage of the package, which you can find below. (Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., had not yet issued a statement as of 5:45 p.m. MT)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

“Right now, Colorado and the country are facing a challenge that’s greater than any since World War II. It’s a massive public health crisis that has precipitated a massive economic crisis. To stop the spread of the coronavirus, we’ve essentially had to stop our economy, and there’s no precedent for this in our history.

“This bill reflects the need for urgent and comprehensive action, including an increase in resources for hospitals and health care providers, fiscal assistance for state and local governments, a historic expansion of unemployment benefits, direct cash payments for the hardest hit Americans, and greater support for our small businesses.

“The challenge before us is enormous, and we must be prepared to respond further if necessary. I will continue to work with Governor Polis, our public health agencies, and Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to ensure that Coloradans across the state have the support they need in these trying times.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R)

“America is facing a very serious public health crisis that also has the potential to affect the long-term health of our economy.

The people on the front lines fighting the spread of COVID-19 – our doctors, nurses, first responders, and other health professionals – need help. Congress should be stepping up to ensure America’s health care system has access to all of the needed personal protective equipment – like masks and face shields – and testing supplies to identify those infected and to help stop the spread of the virus. Businesses and employees affected by this virus also need help. Congress should be providing short-term financial assistance such as loans and in the form of a tax holiday. I recognize these needs and fully support action to provide these resources to stem the damage being caused in the present crisis.

As President Trump recently stated, “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will harm our future generations in ways that the coronavirus never could — by drastically increasing our national debt by stuffing this bill with pork. The President has shown strong leadership during these trying times, seeking to help struggling families and small businesses. Congress must do the same. But we can’t do so at the expense of our children and grandchildren’s future.

After thoughtful reflection, I have concluded that I must oppose this bill, which contains many provisions that, as history and experience tell us, will do long-lasting damage to our economy, delaying economic recovery and harming Americans in return.

This truth is this bill will spend $6 trillion – not $2 trillion. Even that cost fails to include the cost of borrowing this money. There is no attempt by Congress to reduce spending elsewhere in the budget to pay for this bill. We believe that the fight against the virus will take six to eight weeks, yet this bill spends money decades into the future.

We must face these hard truths. The “cures” offered in the CARES Act are far worse than the problem itself and will be devastating for working families and small businesses in the long run.”

Rep. Jason Crow (D)

“Our country and the American people are in crisis and it requires our action now. To be clear, this is not a perfect bill, but it is the bill that America needs today. It will provide immediate relief, direct cash payments to millions of Americans to pay rent, buy food, and pay their mortgages, and over $370 billion dollars to our small businesses in immediate grants and loans. There is much more that needs to be done but we will work together to do it and improve moving forward.

“We will get through this challenging time as a country because that is what America does. We are at our best when we come together and meet our common challenges and that is exactly what we will do.”

Rep. Diana DeGette (D)

“We need to bring immediate relief to the millions of American families now struggling to make ends meet,” DeGette said. “This bill puts workers and their families first by providing direct cash payments to most American workers, dramatically expanding unemployment benefits and stabilizing small businesses. While there is still more to be done, this will bring much-needed economic relief to those that have been hurt by this unprecedented public health crisis.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R)

“I’ve spoken to countless Coloradans who are worried about their futures and how to provide for their families because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the CARES Act provides the much-needed relief that Coloradans and the American people need,” said Senator Gardner. “The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion in direct economic relief and will support our frontline healthcare providers, families, and workers in Colorado as we get through this crisis together. I encourage the President to sign the CARES Act into law right away to give the American people relief now.”

Rep. Joe Neguse (D)

“This public health emergency places us on the precipice of a significant economic crisis. Unprecedented circumstances require an unprecedented and urgent response to provide immediate relief for American families, hospitals and businesses.”

“This bill does not include everything that I believe it should have, but its immediate investments are vital and ones that Coloradans simply cannot wait to receive. I have been in constant conversations with my colleagues in the House and Senate over the past week to advocate for Colorado’s communities and to secure essential provisions in the CARES Act, including cash payments for American workers and the inclusion of grants rather than loans for our small businesses so they are not placed under additional undue financial burdens, along with several other needed provisions. However, I remain disappointed by concessions made by the Senate regarding direct monetary relief for families (which should be much higher), the lack of stronger controls and conditions concerning corporate loans, and a local government limitation that could make it harder for municipalities to quickly receive aid they need. I fought tremendously hard to change these limitations and many others in the final bill, and will continue to fight for these issues in the coming weeks.”

“The fact remains, however, that Coloradans need relief now, which is why I voted in favor of this measure — to bring added investments for small businesses and families now. This is an important first step, and we will need to do more soon. Tomorrow we must get back up and continue the fight to fully and wholeheartedly support Americans throughout this public health crisis.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D)

“This package is focused on stabilizing our economy by providing additional critical support for our health care system, small businesses, state and local governments, workers and families. It gets money in people’s pockets quickly and expands unemployment insurance benefits to provide substantial relief over the next four months to help provide financial protection for millions of Americans while providing other forms of relief such as suspending federal student loan payments for six months. It also provides additional relief to small businesses and their workers through the expansion of Small Business Administration lending programs and creation of the Paycheck Protection Program which will forgive the portions of certain loans used to keep employees on payroll for up to eight weeks.

“At the same time, this package makes critical short- and long-term investments in the health care system including supplying additional personal protective equipment for our front line healthcare workers and first responders, replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile, supporting federal, state and local public health agencies, grants for local school systems and higher education institutions, and assistance for child care.

“As we first work to combat the public health emergency at hand, it’s important to keep families, businesses and the economy operating as normally as possible. This stabilization package is the third in a series of efforts to try and do just that, however more will be needed. I am confident Congress will work together to meet the emerging needs in the weeks to come.”

Rep. Scott Tipton (R)

“Through no fault of their own, hospitals, families and businesses are facing a public health crisis causing unprecedented hardships for millions of employees and families. In the 3rd District I have heard from heartbroken families who don’t know how to afford next month’s rent, small business owners who don’t know how they will pay their loyal employees or if they will be able to hold out and reopen their doors ever again, and healthcare workers desperate for more medical supplies. I applaud President Trump and the Senate for focusing on the dire and urgent needs of hospitals, families and small businesses affected by COVID-19 and standing firm against loading this bill with radical leftist gimmicks that were included in Speaker Pelosi’s unserious legislation. I am obviously deeply cautious about the staggering cost, but the cost of inaction today means putting a price tag on lives tomorrow. I am proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the President in doing what is necessary to support the American people and position our economy to make a strong recovery once we defeat this terrible virus.”