Sen. Cruz Votes in Favor of Third Coronavirus Relief Package
'We're facing an extraordinary crisis, and it requires an extraordinary response'
March 25, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued the following statement after voting in favor of the third coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which unanimously passed out of the Senate:
"Our country is in a crisis. When millions of lives are on the line, we have a responsibility to act and to act decisively. Members of our communities are dying, our hospitals and medical facilities face being overwhelmed with new patients, small businesses are closing their doors, millions of workers are losing their jobs, and entire industries are on the brink of collapse.
"In ordinary times, a bill that spends $2 trillion - nearly 10 percent of our total national debt - would never be passed. And the consequences are breathtaking.
"But we're facing an extraordinary crisis, and it requires an extraordinary response. It requires all of us to rise above petty partisanship, to step up and lead, and take every precaution necessary to protect human life.
"That's what we did here today. The bill we passed unanimously is not a stimulus. It is a bridge over a flood that the federal government triggered in an effort to save lives.
"This legislation includes several priorities I've urged the administration and Congress to address, including delivering much-needed support for those on the front lines of combatting COVID-19, making sure hospitals and health facilities have the critical supplies and equipment they need to treat patients, speeding up the approval process for treatments and vaccines, and expanding the use of health savings accounts.
"This legislation was designed to provide real help to people who are hurting. It will send immediate checks to individuals and families - real relief for people who are worried about how they are going to make ends meet. $1,200 per adult, and $500 per child.
"It will also provide $377 billion in emergency relief for small businesses that have effectively been forced to shut down as the coronavirus hits more communities - helping local job creators keep their employees on payroll. This relief will preserve millions of jobs and help save restaurants, bars, hardware stores, and nail salons across the nation.
"And it takes many other meaningful steps to stabilize our economy and protect jobs in Texas and across the country - especially those jobs that have been affected by travel restrictions and other government efforts to keep people healthy.
"This is legislation we could have passed days ago if it weren't for Democrats' petty partisan politics. Speaker Pelosi treated this emergency relief package like a progressive wish list, trying to extort this crisis to advance unrelated, political, partisan objectives. There is a place for these political and policy discussions, and it is not here and it is not now.
"Of course there are numerous changes I would have liked to see in the final version of this bill. For all of the positive steps it takes, there are several provisions in here that I have long fought against, including harmful federal mandates that hurt job creators. I am concerned that too much of the bill will benefit large corporations instead of individuals and small businesses, and this massive bill written at breakneck speed no doubt contains many unhappy surprises.
"And this is a bipartisan problem. Although Senate Democrats like to blame corporate welfare on Republicans, the bill got worse - with even more corporate giveaways - at Democrats' insistence.
"This bill also includes changes to unemployment assistance that will disincentivize people from returning to work when more jobs become available again, and I was disappointed that the Senate did not adopt a commonsense amendment I cosponsored to help ensure this bill encourages work.
"But, after spending the past several weeks hearing from those in Texas working on the frontlines of this crisis, I put those real concerns aside to address the more immediate and urgent task of saving as many lives as possible and providing relief from the economic devastation caused by this outbreak.
"We must defeat this pandemic. I will continue to work toward more targeted, commonsense solutions to combat COVID-19, and I urge everyone to remain vigilant and listen to the advice of the medical professionals. We have a long road ahead of us with many more steps along the way. But together I believe we can curb the spread of this dangerous disease and ultimately defeat it."
Earlier this week, Sen. Cruz delivered remarks on the Senate floor in response to Democrats' obstruction of the third coronavirus relief package. On March 18, Sen. Cruz voted in favor of the second coronavirus relief package. On March 5, Sen. Cruz voted in favor of the first coronavirus relief package.
During his voluntary self-quarantine, Sen. Cruz laid out an all-hands-on-deck approach to combatting coronavirus and saving lives, specifically calling on the Administration, Congress, and business leaders to focus on four concrete priorities:
• Making testing more accurate and widely available.
• Ensuring we have enough of the essential medical supplies for first responders and health care professionals,
• Creating more capacity and providing critical resources for hospitals and medical facilities.
• Working quickly to develop and approve vaccines and cures.
Last week, Sen. Cruz introduced three pieces of legislation to increase healthcare capacity and access and speed up FDA approval for certain vaccines and cures that could prevent or treat COVID-19 and sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to use the Defense Production Act to immediately order the production and distribution of ventilators, which are critical to treating individuals infected by COVID-19.
For more information and additional resources, visit www.cruz.senate.gov/coronavirus/.