OUR LATEST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE PUTS MONEY IN THE POCKETS OF AMERICANS WHO NEED IT MOST
March 28, 2020
For several weeks, Congress has been working to develop and advance a stimulus package that would begin to address the impacts of coronavirus on families, businesses and communities and provide essential support to the health care system and its incredible workers.
Yesterday, those efforts were achieved with the passage of H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
This $2 trillion package responds to a number of critical needs of Americans. The CARES Act:
Secures a $200 billion investment in hospitals, health systems and health research and $150 billion for state and local governments to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency.
Invests a massive $260 billion in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers, with an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits to be made available immediately and up to $600 more a week for laid-off workers.
Provides immediate direct cash payments to lower and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.
Establishes a $377 billion infusion of fast relief for small businesses, including $350 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
Secures more than $30 billion in emergency education funding to help with distance learning while also eliminating federal student loan repayments through September.
Eliminates secret bailouts and adds special oversight requirements, including reports to Congress every 30 days, for American companies that receive assistance through the Act in order to make sure they are protecting workers.
This unprecedented response includes several other essential provisions that I fought hard to ensure their inclusion. I am particularly grateful that funding for mental health care services was provided. I led a bipartisan letter, sent to Speaker Pelosi, calling for the mental health impacts of this outbreak to be addressed. As a result, this supplemental appropriations package includes $425 million for emergency mental health and substance use services, including $50 million for suicide prevention programs.
Other priorities involved ensuring that our hospitals and health care workers receive the funding they asked for and so desperately need in order to effectively fight this crisis. Our medical professionals are putting their lives on the line for communities and we must do everything in our power to make sure they are given all of the necessary resources to protect their patients and themselves.
My office has received many calls from constituents regarding questions on the direct cash payments. As it is written, individuals are eligible for the full rebate payments as long as they have a Social Security number and their household income is limited. This includes Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Rebate payments start to phase out at the thresholds of $75,000 single, $112,500 head of household, and $150,000 married. For additional questions, please see the fact sheet on Social Security and the CARES Act.
This bill is not perfect; but it is essential. The CARES Act eases the incredible burden that Americans have been forced to shoulder. The coronavirus threatens our physical, mental and economic wellbeing and an immediate response was vital to support those most impacted by this pandemic. There is more work to be done and I look forward to continuing this work on behalf of the residents of our district and the American people.
As always, my staff and I are here for you and want to assist you in any way that we can. I will continue to provide information through my social media channels in addition to updates to my webpage: Tonko.house.gov/coronavirus.
We all have a part to play to help our communities through this public health crisis. Thank you for your strength and courage.
As always, thank you for reading.