Congressman Chuy García Votes for COVID Relief, Government Funding, and Against Border Wall and Bloated Defense Spending

December 21, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today the House voted on a year-end agreement consisting of two legislative packages to fund the government through 2021 and provide additional COVID-19 relief. Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) voted for Part II of H.R. 133, which funds domestic programs that include healthcare, environmental protections, roads and public transportation, workforce development, affordable housing, and over $900 billion in additional COVID-19 relief. The Congressman voted against Part I of H.R. 133, which funds the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as the Department of Justice, Commerce, and scientific agencies.

Congressman García issued the following statement:

“I voted for the bipartisan COVID-19 rescue bill to provide working families in the Chicagoland area the financial assistance they, and millions of Americans, desperately need. Ensuring we implement the most robust response to crush the coronavirus remains my top priority and this bill provides over $900 billion to that end.

"Thousands of families face evictions, layoffs, and the ongoing risk of contracting the virus, especially frontline, essential workers of whom many are Latino, Black, or working class. Small business owners face a dark winter as new restrictions limit operations and employers struggle to pay the bills and keep their employees on payroll. For thousands more, there will be empty seats at the dinner table and grief for those who have lost loved ones.

"Though this relief package is too little, too late, the bill was significantly improved during negotiations and contains specific provisions I fought hard to include:

  • To provide direct assistance to struggling families, $600 survival checks for each adult and child were added;
  • To provide assistance to mixed-status families, survival checks were made available to eligible spouses and children, and a retroactive provision was added enabling them to receive stimulus checks they were denied in the first round;
  • To keep our economy moving and provide essential workers affordable transportation, $14B was included to keep transit agencies like CTA, Pace Bus, and Metra afloat;
  • To keep a roof over struggling families, $25B in rent assistance was included;
  • To keep thousands of airline workers at Midway and O’Hare on the job; $15B was added to extend the Paycheck Support Program and keep flight attendants and airport service workers on payroll; 
  • To support struggling families cope with job losses, an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment insurance was extended through March;
  • To protect families in federally-assisted housing from carbon monoxide poisoning, the package also included my CO Alerts Act which provides over $300 million to install detectors in affordable housing units;
  • To ensure Amtrak is accessible to Americans with disabilities, the bill also includes my legislation to ensure at least $75M is set aside to upgrade necessary infrastructure and protocols;

"Though far from the scope of relief needed, the inclusion of mixed-status families to receive survival checks, and the added retroactive eligibility for the first round of checks, was significant in my decision to support the package. Immigrant families keep our communities thriving and they deserve inclusion in any relief Congress provides.

"Separately, I voted against the portion of this package that funds the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense because I strongly oppose additional funding to construct the border wall or maintain the inhumane detention and deportation apparatus of our government. 

"Let me be clear: this bill is insufficient to meet this moment of crisis, economic uncertainty, and grief we face, but serves as a necessary step towards the significant recovery effort we must undertake. I look forward to crafting significant relief legislation in the 117th Congress that heeds the advice of medical professionals and scientists. In partnership with a Biden-Harris Administration we will crush the virus and fight for an equitable and robust recovery."

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