I traveled back to Washington DC this week to ensure I could be here to vote for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, the third phase of COVID-19 relief bills. I voted for the CARES Act, the largest economic disaster recovery package in our nation’s history, to play my part in beginning the healing process and reassuring my family, friends, and neighbors that help is on the way.
Given the size and scope of the pandemic, it’s a hefty price tag that must be paid, but today on the House floor I challenged my colleagues to join me in dealing with the consequences of spending money we don’t have. It’s time to get our financial house in order before it becomes our next crisis. Click HERE to read my full floor speech.
On Monday, I advocated for small businesses seeking loans (see HERE for more info) and on Wednesday, introduced a bill to sanction foreign officials who withhold or distort public health information (more information available HERE).
I will remain committed to making sure these precious resources enabled through the CARES Act reach the communities and the people in my district who need them the most.
We will get through this. Together.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: What You Need to Know
Keeping Utahns Healthy
- $117 billion to hospitals
- $45 billion to FEMA Disaster Relief Fund
- $16 billion to Strategic National Stockpile
Delivering relief for front-line heroes
- Supports greater access to care by providing $1.32 billion to community health centers
- Reauthorizes key grant programs responsible for administering telemedicine programs across the country
- Eliminates mandatory budget cuts for Medicare providers, appropriates an additional 20% to hospitals treating COVID-19 Medicare patients, and secures an over 6% Medicaid increase to state Medicaid programs
- Secures an additional $16 billion in funding for the Strategic National Stockpile to purchase necessary supplies to treat patients and keep front-line health care workers safe
- Directs $45 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s Disaster Relief and Recovery program to ensure health care providers receive the supplies critical to diagnosing and treating patients
- Gives rural hospitals, whose operations are completely disrupted by COVID-19, the option of receiving 6-months funding in advance with no interest and with the ability to repay the government over a year.
Making health care accessible
- Makes COVID-19 testing free regardless of coverage status and ensures every American will have free access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine
- Ensures at-risk populations with chronic and underlying conditions can continue receiving the medications and care necessary for survival – dialysis provisions (telemedicine), Part D prescription refills
- Expands telemedicine services to ensure those seeking treatment can see a provider, regardless of their method of payment, the provider, or location of the provider during this national emergency – federally qualified health centers/rural health clinics can temporarily bill, nurse practitioners & physicians assistant to certify home health care, telemedicine allowed for home dialysis, certify hospice care via telemedicine
Protecting Utah Businesses
- $349 billion loan guarantees for small businesses
- $454 billion for medium – larger businesses
- $10 billion in emergency grant funding
- $1.5 billion in economic development grants for distressed businesses
Delivering need relief for affected businesses
- Makes fee-free, federally guaranteed loans available to businesses with 500 employees or less, including non-profits, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, other self-employed individuals, and certain qualifying franchisees
- Provides loan forgiveness for businesses who maintain payroll and other essential financial obligations – forgiveness equal to the amount the business spent during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan on payroll costs, interest payment on any mortgage or rent payments, and payment on any utility
- Provides up to $10,000 in immediate payments for qualified businesses, no strings attached – EIDL advanced payments, business required to use these payments toward payroll, paid leave benefits, paying for supplies, rent or mortgage payments, or other obligations that cannot be met resulting from disrupted business operations
- Requires SBA to make payments on the interest or principal of Paycheck Protection Program loans for 6 months
- Leverages the tax code to give employers immediate relief – deferred employer side payroll taxes for two years, allows employers to carryback net operating losses from 2019, 2018, 2017 to carryback taxes for five years to offset losses and provide immediate liquidity, 50% payroll tax credit for employers who maintain payroll obligations during COVID-19 if businesses disrupted by crisis
- Additional loans for qualified businesses with 500 employees or more
Relief for affected individuals, families, and workers
Tax rebates to individuals and families
- Up to $1,200 for individual filers or $2,400 married couple
- $500 per child
Increased unemployment insurance payments for affected workers
- Creates a temporary unemployment assistance program for workers who are traditionally ineligible to receive unemployment benefits – self-employed, independent contractors who aren’t working because of COVID-19
- Increases weekly unemployment assistance payments by $600 and extends eligibility for 13 weeks beyond state unemployment benefits expire
- Fully compensates state programs designed to help employers keep employees on payroll
Keeping Utah’s rural communities connected
- $1 billion in loans to the Business and Industry USDA’s business and loan guarantee program
- $100 million in USDA Reconnect Grants, which keeps rural Utahns connected to the world
- $25 million to the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program, which keeps students in the classroom and Utahns healthy
- $8 billion for tribes