March 23, 2020
“The Senate is on a rescue mission to save our country. This is no time for politics.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, released the following statement after cloture was again blocked by Senate Democrats on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Senate Republicans are on a rescue operation to save our country. We are acting to bring immediate relief to families, small businesses, and those providing care to coronavirus patients across the country. The package we’ve put together will stabilize our economy and jobs while we all step up to get the coronavirus health crisis past us. The American people need results. The Democrat delay must end now.”
The CARES Act is phase III of the Senate’s work to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. This follows over $8 billion in emergency medical funding, and the passage of the Families First bill last week, which provided free testing and paid sick leave for those who need it.
What it does:
- Helps small businesses keep employees and stay open – The bill creates a “Paycheck Protection program” that will provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small business employers who maintain their payroll. That means small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers have the support they need to keep their businesses going and keep their employees on payroll.
- Direct assistance to working families – CARES includes a direct deposit of $1,200 to every American whose 2018 tax return showed income at or below $75,000. That’s $2,400 per married couple, with an extra $500 per child. There’s no minimum threshold, so all working people benefit. That assistance is reduced for those earning between $75,000 - $99,000, and ends at $99,000, to give more help to the middle class.
- Unleashes the full power of America’s health care sector and prioritizes rural health – The bill significantly expands telehealth so that patients can see doctors with whom they don’t already have a relationship, connecting people on home dialysis with providers, and allowing federally qualified health centers to participate.
- The bill also fully mobilizes the care community empowering nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants to prescribe home health services.
- Provides relief to students affected by COVID-19 – Requires student loan payments, principal, and interest be deferred for 6 months without penalty to the student.
- Expands unemployment insurance to self-employed workers and makes more money available for longer – The bill makes it possible for self-employed and independent contractors like Uber drivers to receive unemployment, and makes benefits more generous by adding $600 per week for an additional 13 weeks.