Speech ● Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: 
April 23, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the interim emergency coronavirus relief bill. Below are excerpts of his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“I've heard a number of people, including my friend, the Minority Leader, stand up and say we need to act in a bipartisan fashion. And the next statement is a partisan attack on one of our Members. It's either schizophrenia or a lack of understanding of what this Congress has been doing over the last few weeks.... We've been on the phone with one another. I have talked with the Minority Leader numerous times over the last two weeks. Not only on this particular piece of legislation, but on process going forward. So, if anybody on that side is saying that Congress is not working, they must be speaking for themselves.”
“We waited two weeks, Madam Speaker, that's correct. What for? So that the proposal that we made two weeks ago, or three weeks ago, which has now effectively been accepted by the Republicans, would be accepted. That's what we waited for. What did we get? One hundred and twenty billion additional dollars for small business…”
“I don't think today's vote will be a partisan vote. I certainly hope it will not be. Why? Because for the last two weeks we have been working with one another to try to get to a place where we think we are giving the needed resources. Because we think [that] the initial request was shortchanging hospitals, shortchanging testing, and it's still shortchanges our state and local governments, and so we need another bill to try to get there.”
“Last month, we enacted emergency legislation that included more than $2 trillion dollars in assistance for workers, veterans, small businesses, health care systems, and communities dealing with the spread of coronavirus. One of the programs we created together was the Paycheck Protection Program to try to keep people on a payroll even if they could not go to work because health professionals say don't congregate. The Paycheck Protection Program provides loans to small businesses that will be forgiven if they keep their workers on the payroll. The need was so great that the initial $350 billion, as been pointed out in funding, Madam Speaker, was exhausted in a matter of days. So today we are providing another $310 billion for that program and an additional $60 billion for the most at-risk small businesses. Critically, $60 billion of that, as I just said, will be set aside for smaller banks with a focus on community development [and] financial institutions, that services businesses in rural and minority communities that were left out of the initial program.” 
“More help is still needed, of course, for nonprofits as well as small and minority-owned businesses, those in underbanked communities and self-employed. Those must be, Madam Speaker, priorities in the next bill that clearly is going to be necessary. In addition to the increased funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, Democrats insisted on recapitalizing Economic Injury Disaster Loans as well.... We are also providing an additional $75 billion for hospitals and, crucially, $25 billion for testing.”
“This bill is an interim step.... As we continue to work on the next major piece of legislation. I hope we can include, by the way, Madam Speaker, in the next bill provisions, that unfortunately were unable to [be secured] in this bill. First of all, we shortchangedwe are all in the nation's Capitalshortchanged them by giving them 40 percent of what we gave the smallest states, [states] smaller than the District of Columbia. Let us hope that [we fix that]. We wanted to add that $700 million in this bill. Unfortunately, we couldn't get agreement on that. I think that was penny-wise and pound-foolish....”
“We also must include more help for state and local governments.... This, by the way, is not an abstract accounting problem. We are talking about states and counties across the country being able to keep teachers and first responders [on the job], as tax revenues collapse due to the necessary social distancing.”
“This pandemic, Madam Speaker, has shown a spotlight on the stark disparities in health status and treatment of African-Americans in particular and minority communities in general. That reality is an indefensible and unacceptable one. While we do include new ways of tracking certain data related to racial disparities in this pandemic, there is more we must do.”
 “Furthermore, we need to do more to protect our elections...”
“I'm glad the House is moving toward with a creation of a select subcommittee to oversee the coronavirus response.... 44,575 Americans have lost their lives. Is it too much to ask that we would have a special committee to make sure that the money that we are appropriating in historic amounts is spent correctly? Congress has a responsibility to ensure that the extraordinary sums we have authorized and appropriated are disbursed efficiently and consistent with our intent. Such great sums can not only be a source of economic recovery, but surely everyone on this Floor knows that that sum of money on the table can also be a magnet for waste, fraud, abuse, and, yes, criminality. We owe the American people as we appropriate unbelievable sums to make sure that the American people are the ones advantaged. Any time Congress spends taxpayer money, particularly in such large amounts, we owe it to the American people to know where that money is going and to ensure that it is being spent as directed.”
“I want to thank those who are working in our grocery stores, our police, our fire [fighters], our truck drivers who are getting food and products from here to there, EMS personnel who respond to emergencies, delivery workers. Every time I go to the grocery store, and I hope all of you do it, I thank those people who are stocking the shelves. I thank those people who are checking us out. I thank those people who are putting the carts where they need to be. They are the best of America, and we owe it to them to do all we can to bring this pandemic to an end as quickly and safely as possible.”
“We all want to go back to work in the regular fashion. The Democratic-led House will continue to do everything possible, working with our Republican friends who we believe want the same objective, a safe America, a working America. We want to help small businesses, workers, and their families get through this crisis and to ensure our courageous health care workers are on the frontlines have all the support necessary to win this fight against COVID-19. Madam Speaker, I hope and pray that every Member of the Congress will vote for America and Americans and vote for this bill. We may need more, but we certainly need to do this this day and get more assistance to the American people.”