How has Congress helped?
Congress has passed and the President has signed into law three coronavirus response packages. Learn more about the specific assistance provided in each of these bills below:
PHASE I PACKAGE: H.R. 6047, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act – signed into law March 6th
This legislation provides emergency support for our state and local partners to initiate a comprehensive medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. It specifically includes more than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available, to support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus, and to invest in vaccine development and procure vaccines when they are available.
While Congress and the Administration have worked together to further minimize the economic impacts to businesses and individuals in subsequent response packages, this first coronavirus bill took those initial steps by allowing $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations that have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. This funding could enable the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities and an additional $20 million to administer these loans.
PHASE II PACKAGE: H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – signed into law March 18th
This legislation expands testing for all Americans and increases flexibility for individuals, families, workers, and small business owners. It also includes $142 million to directly help our servicemembers and veterans.
PHASE III Package: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act– signed Into law March 27th
The CARES Act injects over $2 trillion directly and quickly into our economy to help workers, families, small businesses, and industries make it through this disruption and return to economic functionality. More specifically, this third response package will provide additional resources to hospitals, emergency relief to distressed industries, flexibility for local businesses to team up with local banks, and provide small businesses with the resources they need to stay afloat while keeping their workers employed. Below are additional details about the specific ways this bill will help protect Americans’ livelihoods and make a difference in our public health response to this outbreak:
CARES ACT – KEY HEALTH POINTS:
- Rushes resources to hospitals, doctors, and other front line providers;
- Expands the use of telehealth medicine to surge capacity, diagnose, and treat patients more efficiently;
- Provides liability protection for providers who volunteer (Good Samaritan);
- Allows Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to be used to purchase over the counter medicines; and
- Extends expiring health care programs to November.
CARES ACT – KEY ECONOMIC POINTS:
- Temporarily expands unemployment insurance to provide a lifeline for those who have lost their jobs;
- Provides grants and loans to small businesses to meet payroll and pay rent;
- Sends direct checks to individual Americans of up to $1,200;
- Allows regulatory relief so banks can grant loan forbearance for otherwise healthy businesses struggling while business has been shut down; and
- Provides the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve the ability to provide several trillion dollars in assistance to distressed industries through guaranteed loans, while also including strong accountability protections.
Implementation & Guidance under each response package:
- H.R. 6201 (Phase II) implementation & guidance: Employers and workers can click HERE for the Department of Labor (DOL’s) first round of guidance related to paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, how a small business can obtain an exemption, how to count hours for part-time employees, and more.
- CARES Act (Phase III) implementation & guidance: Small businesses, distressed industries, unemployed workers, seniors, and others seeking information from federal agencies about available assistance, please click HERE.