Alexander: “Sweeping Relief” On Its Way to Keep Paychecks Coming For Workers and Relieve Financial Burdens For Americans Hurt By COVID-19

Posted on March 26, 2020

“The government has temporarily shut down the economy because of this disease, and the government must help those who are hurt by it.” – Senator Lamar Alexander  

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2020 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said legislation he voted for and the Senate passed today by a vote of 96-0 will send “sweeping relief to keep paychecks coming for workers and relieve financial burdens for Americans hurt by COVID-19.”  

The senator said that unprecedented legislation will provide $1,200 checks for individuals, increase unemployment compensation, defer tax and student loan payments, generate trillions in economic support to keep businesses open and billions to help hospitals buy medical supplies and speed development of tests, treatments and vaccines.

“The government has temporarily shut down the economy because of this disease, and the government must help those who are hurt by it,” said Alexander. 

Alexander, chairman of the Senate’s Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said the legislation the Senate just passed has three goals: One, keep payroll checks coming to workers during the crisis; two, relieve financial burdens on Americans during the crisis; and, three, contain the disease.   

Keep Payroll Checks Coming to Workers: 

•    $350 billion to support loans to small businesses, and if they use the loan to pay wages and employee benefits the loan will be forgiven (Paycheck Protection Program)

•    Authorizes the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department to create trillions more in financial support for states, cities, and large businesses so they will be able to stay in business.

•    Expands the emergency paid sick and family leave to workers who were laid off and later rehired by their employers

 Relieve Burden:

•    Checks to individuals and families:

?                             $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for a couple

?                             $500 for each eligible child

•    Federal income taxes don’t have to be filed until July 15, estimated taxes can be delayed until October 15, and will make it easier to use retirement savings without penalty

•    Student loan payments delayed for 6 months for 95% of students

•    Gives states the ability to provide unemployed workers an additional $600 per week in Unemployment Insurance benefits, waives the waiting week, and expands eligibility to self-employed and independent contractors

•    $339.8 billion for programs that will go to state and local governments, including:

?                             $274 billion for states and local communities to respond to COVID-19

?                             $5 billion for  the Community Development Block Grant to states

?                             $13 billion for K-12 education

?                             $14 billion for higher education

?                             $5.3 billion to help children and families, including $3.5 billion for Child Care Development Block Grants, which will provide immediate assistance to child care centers

Contain the Disease:

 

•    Make all COVID-19 tests free

•    Nearly $127 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund:

?                             $100 billion for hospitals

?                             $11 billion for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines

?                             $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile

•    $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

?                             $1.5 billion for state and local preparedness and response grants

?                             $500 million to improve public health surveillance

•    $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines

•    $1.32 billion for Community Health Centers (1,400 centers with 12,000 sites) for COVID-19

•    $20 billion for veterans health care

“I hope the House will pass this bill immediately so the president can sign it into law and provide this sweeping relief for Americans who have been hurt by the COVID-19 disease.”  

Click HERE for full text of the legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

 

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