Mar 27 2020
This afternoon the House passed the CARES Act, also known as Phase III, and sent it to the President's desk for signing.
Workers, small businesses, healthcare professionals, and families will finally be receiving the relief they need. I am glad the House ultimately united to pass the CARES Act.
This bipartisan agreement is a step in the right direction. The CARES Act provides direct cash payments to Americans. It provides grants and forgivable loans for those small businesses who were forced to close their doors, and it provides timely relief to health care professionals and hospitals.
While this bill is far from perfect, it puts money in the hands of Americans and provides relief to small businesses to revitalize our economy during these unprecedented times. We will fight this virus, we will win, and America will continue to be the land of opportunity.
Highlights of the CARES Act:
- Direct cash payment of $1,200 for single individual who made under $75,000, or $2,400 for a married couple earning under $150,000, plus $500 per child. That payment is reduced for individuals who made $75,000-$99,000 and couples who made $150,000-$198,000. Payments are based on 2019 tax returns, or 2018 returns if 2019 returns have not been filed.
- $250 billion to expand unemployment benefits and the unemployed may collect for four months
- Expands unemployment insurance to cover self-employed workers and “gig economy” workers
- Prohibits foreclosures for 90 days on federally-backed mortgages for those who experience hardship related to the coronavirus outbreak
- Defers payment of federal student loans for six months
- $8.8 billion to Child Nutrition Programs to ensure children have access to healthy meals
- $15.1 billion to SNAP to provide food for low-income, unemployed or vulnerable families and individuals
For Hospitals and Healthcare Workers:
- $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus
- $1.5 billion to support state and local preparedness
- $11 billion to support research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus
- $1.3 billion in funding for for Community Health Centers
- $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to purchase medical equipment to distribute to states
- $100 billion to reimburse hospitals for care of coronavirus patients and to make up for losses in revenue
- $185 million through HRSA to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs
- Eliminates red tape for employers and individuals to ensure that Americans are able to use all tax-favored health care accounts, like HSAs and FSAs, to buy over-the-counter medicines tax- free without a prescription
For Small Business Owners:
- $350 billion in loan forgiveness for small businesses who maintain employees on their payroll, allowing funds to pay employee salaries, wages, cash tips, sick leave, employee group health care benefits and insurance premiums, retirement contributions and covered leave
- $10 billion in Small Business Association (SBA) grants for business operating costs
- $17 billion in SBA loans to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing loans
For State and Local Governments:
- $274 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments
- $150 billion in direct aid for those state and local governments running out of cash due to high numbers of cases
For Economy, Industries, and American Livelihood:
- $454 billion to support the Federal Reserves’ lending to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities
- Provides direct lending through the Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund to passenger airlines, cargo airlines, and businesses important to "maintaining national security."
- $9.5 billion for agriculture producers
- $14 billion increase in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s borrowing authority
- $100 million to expand broadband service in rural areas
- $33 million to allow the Food Safety and Inspection Service to continue inspecting slaughter houses
- $55 million to allow the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to continue operations including protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and diseases
- $14.4 billion to support healthcare services for veterans at provided by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities and through telehealth
- $2.1 billion for community-based veterans care
-Allows the VA to expand access to mental health services for underserved and at-risk veterans through telehealth
- Ensures that community-based home health workers can receive the PPE they need
- Improves the ability to assist homeless veterans during the outbreak