Gottheimer, Beatty Lead Bipartisan Group to Boost Racial Diversity, Number of Members on CARES Commission

Aug 19, 2020

Bipartisan letter to Congressional leadership outlining plan to increase participation and efficacy

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) this week called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) to enhance the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Congressional Oversight Commission by increasing diverse representation on the panel and to emphasize the need for greater focus on the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic in diverse communities and related relief efforts through the CARES ActP.L. 116-136

Their letter, signed by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Wm. Lacy Clay, Jr. (MO-01), David Scott (GA-13), Al Green (TX-09), Jim Himes (CT-04), Bill Foster (IL-11), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Alma Adams (NC-12), Vincente Gonzalez (TX-15), Al Lawson (FL-05), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Sean Casten (IL-06), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), and Dean Phillips (MN-03), reads in part:

“The Commission has issued three reports to Congress thus far detailing the ongoing implementation of the CARES Act. Unfortunately, these reports have failed to substantively focus on the disparate impacts and challenges faced by diverse communities as a result of COVID-19, or the strategic delivery of relief to these important communities. Congress must take the following steps to ensure the Commission fulfills its intended oversight purpose…”

Specifically, Beatty and Gottheimer’s letter urges Congressional leadership to: 

(1) expand the total number of members on the Commission; 

(2) increase racial and gender diversity on the Commission; 

(3) improve oversight and reporting on the delivery of federal relief funds to diverse communities; and 

(4) make sure that the panel has sufficient resources and staffing to carry out its congressional mandate. 

Their letter comes at a time when Black Americans account for 20 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 percent of deaths—yet make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population—and on the heels of a June 2020 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found the largest drop in minority business owners on record. Between February and April of this year, Black-owned businesses experienced a 41 percent closure rate, while Latinx- and Asian-owned businesses fell by 32 percent and 26 percent, respectively 

To read the full letter, please click HERE.


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