Soto, Mucarsel-Powell Call on Florida Senators to Prioritize Latinos Hardest Hit By COVID-19, Pass HEROES Act

July 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Reps. Darren Soto (FL-09) and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) sent a letter urging Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to encourage the Senate to take up the House-passed HEROES Act and prioritize the health and safety of Latino communities bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With each passing day, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to deteriorate the health and economic well-being of millions of Americans across the country,” wrote the Members. “Sadly, our fellow Floridians – especially Latinos and communities of color – are disproportionately bearing the brunt of this suffering. As Florida experiences record-high COVID-19 cases and deaths, coupled with increasing unemployment cases, it is imperative that the federal government take swift and robust action to provide the assistance that our constituents desperately need. To that end, we urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that the Senate takes up H.R. 6800, The HEROES Act.” 

A recent UnidosUS report found that 36 percent of Latino households in Florida did not receive any support from the CARES Act and 71 percent of Latinos in Florida believe the initial stimulus was insufficient. The report also concludes: 

  • Latinos are disproportionately contracting and dying from COVID-19, with Latinos representing 44% of confirmed cases in Florida, despite only making up 25% of Florida’s population.
  • Latinos have been hit hard by the economic downturn and are twice as likely to have been laid off as a result of the pandemic and experience a higher unemployment rate. 
  • Latino and immigrant workers are overrepresented in essential jobs, making up 54% of agricultural workers, 35% of meat processing workers, and 29% of medical assistants. 
  • Latinos have not been fully included in COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation to date. Many Latinos were excluded from the Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act and only 4% of the first round of Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans went to Latino small business owners. 

“These disparities and the exclusion of Latinos from health and economic relief have deep, negative impacts on our state. We urge you to call on your colleagues and Senate leadership to take up and pass The HEROES Act,” concluded the Members.                

The full letter can be read here.