March 21, 2020
“Congress will stop at nothing to assure that America and Americans survive and revive and thrive. This storm will pass. Americans will defeat the coronavirus together.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke on the Senate floor about the third emergency coronavirus bill Congress is working on, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill will bolster our economy and help small businesses by providing federally guaranteed loans to help them stay viable.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to provide an update on the bold, bipartisan action that Congress is now taking to respond to the pandemic that we have with the coronavirus.
“First, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of life due to the outbreak here in this country and globally.
“All of us remain very concerned about the great loss of life and the suffering that is happening as a result of this.
“These are extraordinary times.
“We are fighting a world war to defeat a virus, we want to do it to save lives but also to keep people safe.
“This war has two fronts: the public health and the health of our economy.
“The coronavirus, right now, is controlling our economy. It’s taken a dominate role, and to stop this disease, the nation has largely shut down.
“These temporary restrictions on our daily activities are necessary in an effort to limit new cases, the spread of the disease.
“And yet the economic fallout is devastating millions of hardworking American families.
“Once we defeat the virus, we will rebuild. Our economy will bounce back.
“We are a strong and resilient nation, and we always bounce back and we will again.
“First we need to make it through this medical crisis and this is going to require big and bold and bipartisan action.
“The American people need help, and I would reassure the American people that Congress is responding.
“This is a national rescue operation, as I see it, and help is on the way.
“President Trump and Congress, in a bipartisan way are coming together to ease the pain of the American people.
“It’s going to take time; it’s going to happen.
“We are sending immediate relief, and we have done that.
“We are sending financial support plus medical support, to people all across America.
“The bill being considered on the floor right now is called the CARES Act, and it stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. It will bolster our economy, and it will help working families.
“This bill allows for us to deliver direct cash payments to most Americans to see people through this economic downturn.
“Small businesses, the people who work in small business, and people who own small business will receive federally guaranteed loans to help them stay viable, to keep the businesses viable, so they can keep their employees on the payroll until we get to a point where they are, from a disease standpoint, able to re-open the businesses.
“We want them to be viable when the day comes that businesses can re-open all across America.
“The CARES Act is major legislation that will stabilize our economy and protect American jobs.
“I have introduced bipartisan language along with Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado with regard to health care.
“The goal is to provide immediate relief for rural hospitals for small community hospitals and for small physician practices.
“During this crisis, rural hospitals and small health care providers are on the frontlines providing urgent care.
“They continue to work round-the-clock keeping communities in Wyoming and across the country safe.
“These providers are stretched like never before. Now, I’ve talked with several of them in Wyoming over the past 24 hours.
“Talked to one this morning whose coronavirus test has come back. It is negative, and he is back in the fight today in the hospital.
“Our bill provides rural hospitals with aid in the form of federal grants based on insurance payments.
“This will help make up for lost revenue due to the forced cancellation of elective surgeries. Of course, these are surgeries that have already been scheduled and planned.
“But in terms of providing to make sure that we have the resources needed at those hospitals, the beds available, and the personal protective equipment, elective surgeries have been canceled.
“So small physician hospitals, rural communities aren't able to tolerate that sort of loss of flow, just as any business is not able to tolerate that sort of cash flow loss.
“So small physician practices will receive low-interest loans based on the payroll of that practice, in terms of what we're doing with this bill that Michael Bennet and I in a bipartisan way have introduced.
“Rural health care workers need immediate, short-term financial relief to help them through this crisis time.
“The CARES Act also includes a number of important public health provisions.
“It eases the shortages of drugs and critical equipment, including ventilators and medical masks.
“It expands testing and ensures testing is free for patients. And it speeds the development of new coronavirus vaccines and treatments since none have existed before the disease was made known worldwide as a new virus.
“The CARES Act that we’re looking at today on the floor of the U.S. Senate also protects patients through the expanded use of health savings accounts for telehealth.
“It expands telehealth access for Medicare patients. And it increases Medicare payments to hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
“The CARES Act will help employers and workers weather the storm that we are facing because of coronavirus.
“Once the storm passes, the American economy will continue to recover.
“The CARES Act is the third coronavirus emergency bill considered in the Senate.
“The first two have already been passed into law, signed by the president.
“Earlier this month, Congress passed two major relief packages. The first, an $8 billion emergency funding bill for our health care system.
“The second, $100 billion bill to provide additional relief to affected families, to small businesses, and to workers.
“These three relief measures are only the beginning. More legislation will be coming to address this unprecedented economic and public health care crisis.
“Once we defeat the virus, the economy will recover, America will be back.
“The American people are strong, we are resilient, we are determined to get through this, and we will.
“We're all Americans, we're all in it together.
“Be assured, Congress will stop at nothing to assure that America and Americans survive and revive and thrive.
“This storm will pass. The people of this great nation will emerge stronger than ever.
“Americans will defeat the coronavirus together.”