The CARES Act Will Rush Assistance To American Workers, Families, Small Businesses, And Health Care Providers
Extensive Bipartisan Negotiations Have Strengthened The CARES Act, Which Will Help Stabilize The Economy, Provide Recovery Checks And Unemployment Insurance To Americans, Support Small Businesses, And Surge Funding For Hospitals And Medical Equipment
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Ten days ago, I laid out four urgent priorities for new Senate legislation to help our nation through this crisis. We had to get direct financial assistance to the American people. Get historic aid to small businesses to keep paychecks flowing. Stabilize key industries to prevent mass layoffs. And, of course, flood more resources into the front-line healthcare battle itself. One week ago, Senate Republicans laid down an initial proposal that tackled each of these emergency missions. Our members put forward bold plans to send cash to households. Stand up historic emergency loans for Main Street. Stabilize key sectors. And put the full might of Congress behind our doctors, nurses, hospitals, healthcare providers, and the race for treatments and vaccines…. The creative policies our chairmen crafted in just a couple days’ time remain the central building blocks of the proposal we will pass today. But Republicans knew the nation had no time for conventional political gamesmanship. So the instant we released our first draft, I created a series of bipartisan working groups. I asked Republicans and Democrats to work together around the clock to make the bill even better. By Sunday, we had an updated proposal that was even stronger and contained even more ideas literally from both sides…. The Senate is going to stand together, act together, and pass this historic relief package.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/25/2020)
- SEN. McCONNELL: “In the coming days and weeks, our nation is going to meet new heroes. Many may be police, firefighters, and EMTs once again. Many others will be truck drivers, grocery-store clerks, and pharmacists who literally keep our supply chains running. Utility workers and delivery drivers who leave their homes so everyone else can remain in theirs. Teachers who somehow manage to keep educating their students over the Internet while looking after their own kids at the same time. And most of all, we’re going to meet a whole lot of American heroes who wear scrubs, and masks, and gloves. Heroes who rush toward the sick, and wash their hands until they bleed, and work around the clock to heal our friends and our families. When our nation comes through this and takes flight again on the other side, it will be because American heroes won this fight. All the Senate can do is give them the resources to do it. So that’s exactly what we are going to do today.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/25/2020)
The CARES Act Provides Direct Assistance To Families And Workers Through Recovery Checks And Expanded Unemployment Insurance As Well As Relief On Student Loan Payments
The CARES Act:
- Provides recovery checks to most taxpayers, providing cash immediately to individuals and families. Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child. Even people with no income and or only Social Security income are eligible. So that relief is focused on those who need it most, eligibility for recovery checks is reduced starting at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 in income for joint filers. Individuals with income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with income exceeding $198,000 are ineligible. Eligibility is based on 2019 tax returns, or 2018 returns if the 2019 return has not yet been filed.
- Strengthens and expands unemployment insurance for Americans who cannot work due to the coronavirus. It expands unemployment benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others. The bill provides additional benefits to each recipient of unemployment insurance for up to four months and an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits after state benefits are no longer available. For people who were employed on March 1 and have lost their job due to coronavirus, the bill provides paid leave for them as well. The bill also helps states pay for certain additional unemployment insurance costs.
- Permits students to defer their student loan payments for 6 months and keep their Pell grants.
(U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020; U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Release, 3/25/2020; U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020; U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, Release, 3/25/2020)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman: “This legislation is the result of bipartisan compromise and significant give-and-take on both sides…. This bill would send a recovery check to most Americans for at least $1,200. A typical family of four would be eligible for $3,400. Seniors, veterans, the unemployed and low-income Americans would be eligible too. This would help workers, families and small businesses absorb some of the financial impact of the coronavirus. We also provide significantly enhanced unemployment insurance and expand eligibility to the self-employed, gig workers and other Americans who aren’t working due to the coronavirus…. The economic and public health crisis we are experiencing as a country is an emergency and Congress must respond in kind. Congress must pass this legislation immediately so it can be signed into law by the president and Americans can see relief.” (U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020)
The CARES Act Provides Crucial Assistance To Small Businesses To Keep Operating And Keep Their Employees
The CARES Act:
- Provides nearly $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans via the Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
- Allows the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by the coronavirus.
- Provides $17 billion in small business debt relief by requiring the Small Business Administration to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus.
- Provides $10 billion for expanded eligibility for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including emergency grants, an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman: “The unprecedented crisis facing our nation’s small businesses and their employees requires an immediate, bold response. I am confident that we have assembled a bipartisan emergency relief package that will get cash to small businesses, and the Americans they employ, that desperately need it during this pandemic…. I look forward to the swift passage of the CARES Act in the Senate, and urge the House to take it up immediately in order to get it to the President for signature.” (Sen. Rubio, Press Release, 3/25/2020)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): “Every day, I am hearing from small business owners who are anxious about the future of their businesses and how they can continue to pay their employees. The last thing they want to do is to lay off their employees, but they fear they may have no choice. When these businesses suffer, it has a cascading effect on workers, from housekeepers to wait staff to bartenders to fishermen to drivers to retail clerks…. Help is on the horizon that would allow them to weather the current storm…. It is past time that we deliver this urgently needed aid for the employees of small businesses across our nation and get the job done for the American people.” (Sen. Rubio, Press Release, 3/25/2020)
The CARES Act Surges Funding To The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Fight: Hospitals And Health Care Providers, The CDC, VA Facilities, FEMA, And Purchases Of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) And Ventilators
The CARES Act:
- Provides a $340 billion surge in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak. More than 80% of the funding package goes to state and local governments and communities.
- Includes $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers to ensure they receive the support they need for coronavirus-related expenses and lost revenue.
- Includes $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment (PPEs), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts via the Strategic National Stockpile.
- Includes $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other preparedness needs, with at least $3.5 billion of that to advance construction, manufacturing, and purchase of vaccines and therapeutic delivery to the American people. This is in addition to the billions already provided for these activities in the first supplemental.
- Includes $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control.
- Includes $45 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund.
- Includes over $19 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs to support increased demand for health care services at VA facilities and through telehealth, including the purchase of medical equipment and supplies, testing kits, and personal protective equipment. Also enables VA to provide additional support for vulnerable veterans.
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman: “A crisis of this magnitude demands bold action and considerable resources, and that’s what we’re working to provide for American families, workers, and businesses in this bipartisan package. States and localities facing this head-on are in desperate need of federal support. Delivering these resources and providing relief is our responsibility. I urge my colleagues to unify and support this legislation without reservation. We must get this package to the President’s desk expeditiously. There is no time to waste.” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020)
The CARES Act Reinforces Health Care Providers, Ensures Free Tests For Patients, Makes Sure Medicare Beneficiaries Can Access Care, And Increases Critical Supplies Of Medical Equipment And Drugs
The CARES Act:
- Increases the supply of drugs and critical equipment, including ventilators and masks.
- Boosts hiring for coronavirus-related health care jobs.
- Ensures all coronavirus tests are free for patients.
- Speeds the development of new vaccines and treatments.
- Ensures Medicare patients can access treatment for coronavirus by increasing payments for providers, and eliminating charges for an eventual vaccine. It also ensures Medicare Part D beneficiaries access to prescription drugs during the emergency.
(U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020; U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, Release, 3/25/2020; U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020; U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Release, 3/25/2020)
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN), Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee Chairman: “The government has shut down the economy for the public health, so the Senate is responsible for taking steps to help families, workers and business who have been hurt by the outbreak of COVID-19… This bill will keep payroll checks coming to workers during the crisis, relieve financial burdens on Americans during the crisis, and contain the disease. This legislation fixes and significantly improves the paid leave policies passed by the House of Representatives. Additionally, the bill will help improve our health care capability and provide relief to schools and students who have had their education disrupted. Specifically, the bill would help expand testing, make all COVID-19 tests free, increase hiring of more health care workers, increase supply of personal protective equipment, and speed the development of new vaccines and treatments. The legislation allows students to defer payment on their student loans and to keep their Pell grants.” (U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, Press Release, 3/25/2020)
The CARES Act Helps Stabilize The Economy And Offers Relief To Businesses As They Keep Employees On Payroll
The CARES Act:
- Provides $500 billion to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for distressed industries.
- Authorizes the Federal Reserve to provide approximately $4 trillion in direct aid to various industries and local governments.
- Safeguards taxpayers by requiring strict criteria for loans.
- Establishes oversight through an independent Inspector General and Congressional Oversight Panel.
SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID), Senate Banking Committee Chairman: “Small and large businesses are losing access to liquidity, putting them at serious risk of closing down permanently and displacing millions of workers… If businesses go insolvent today, then the economy and the finances of U.S. citizens will suffer long after the coronavirus is contained. We found a way to responsibly inject potentially trillions of dollars back into the market, helping businesses keep their doors open, keep their employees on the payroll and restore as much normalcy at this unprecedented time as possible. This measure, combined with the broader CARES Act, will provide approximately $6 trillion in immediate relief to severely affected industries, helping to stabilize the economy and get Americans through this crisis.” (U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Press Release, 3/25/2020)
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