Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by a voice vote:
“For Oklahoma’s families, small business owners, health care providers, and ag producers- relief is on the horizon. The House has just passed a bold and comprehensive piece of legislation that will bolster and strengthen Oklahoma’s health care system, shore up and support our local economics, and provide direct assistance to the business owners and employees who have been impacted during this health and economic crisis.
Our communities are facing the most devastating pandemic we’ve seen in over 100 years. Congress’ continued investment in our nation’s health care system will address supply shortages, support health care providers and their patients, and will provide massive funding for Oklahoma’s hospitals- both urban and rural. It also continues to cut bureaucratic red tape empowering more public-private partnerships as we develop and procure vaccines and test kits.
Combating this virus has changed nearly every aspect of our way of life and has halted the American economy. For individuals and families struggling with economic uncertainty, the CARES Act provides immediate relief, giving Oklahomans the certainty they need to weather this storm. Along with sending direct checks to individual Americans of up to $1,200, the CARES Act will help stabilize Oklahoma’s farm economy by providing $23 billion in aid for our farmers and ranchers- $14 billion to the Commodity Credit Corporation and another $9.5 billion in emergency relief.
Throughout Oklahoma, small businesses have fallen on uncertain times while remaining the heartbeat of Main Street. Thousands of Oklahomans have done everything they can to keep their restaurant, shop, or small manufacturing operation up and running during this crisis. This legislation not only offers speedy relief to help keep their doors open, but it also creates a Paycheck Protection Program guaranteeing 8 weeks of payroll and operating expenses to employers who keep their employees on payroll.
The bill passed overwhelmingly by voice vote in a bipartisan manner and is supported by President Trump. While I wasn’t able to be there to voice my support, this doesn’t make the House any less united behind providing relief for the American people.”
The CARES Act would address supply shortages, allocate additional funds for the Strategic National Stockpile, to procure personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, support health care workers and hospitals, and funds research of new treatment and vaccines to combat this pandemic.
- $45.4 billion for Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the agency President Trump has tasked to take over the COVID-19 response. Specifically, the funding will go to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to continue response and recovery activities and reimbursements provided to states and localities during this critical time.
- $100 billion for hospitals to ensure healthcare providers continue to receive the support they need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue.
- $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which can purchase medical supplies equipment, and medicine to be distributed to states.
- $11 billion for vaccine, therapeutics, diagnostics and other medical or preparedness needs, which will advance construction, manufacturing, and purchase of vaccines and therapeutic delivery to the American people.
- $4.3 billion for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention for public health initiatives. Specifically, $1.5 billion designated for state and local preparedness and response activities.
- $1.32 billion to Community Health Centers, who are often on the front lines of treating and testing for COVID-19 in rural areas of Oklahoma.
- Expands the use of Telehealth medicine to surge capacity and diagnose and treat patients in safe and faster environment.
- $275 million in Health Resources and Services Administration grants to expand services and capacity for rural hospitals and telehealth.
- Extends expiring health extenders to November 30, 2020
- $1.7 billion – Assistance to Tribal Communities (Indian Health Service, Bureaus of Indian Education/Affairs, and Food Distribution)
The CARES Act would provide emergency relief to workers, families, and small businesses, issue loans to distressed industries, provide flexibility and debt relief to local businesses, expand unemployment benefits, and offer direct assistance to American workers and families through a one-time tax rebate.
- $1,200 per individual and $500 per child direct payments in the form of a one-time tax rebate. There are no earned income or tax liability requirements to receive these rebate checks. The full rebate amount is available for those with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples.
- Creates a “Paycheck Protection Program” for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Paycheck Protection Program” would provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
- Requires the U.S. Small Business Administration to pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for six months.
- $250 billion to expand unemployment benefits, providing economic relief and much needed support for workers.
- Increases benefits more generous by adding a $600/week across-the-board payment increase through the end of July. In addition, for those who need it, the bill provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow.
- Provides loans in the amount of $50 billion for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo airlines, and $17 billion for businesses critical to maintain national security.
- Waives the 10% penalty on coronavirus-related early distributions from 401(k)s and IRAs, which applies to distributions made at any time during 2020.
The CARES Act would provide relief for America’s farmers and ranchers and would allocate new funding to agriculture producers, including livestock producers, who have been negatively impacted by current market conditions.
- $9.5 billion in new funding to help producers, including livestock producers, that have been impacted by the coronavirus.
- $14 billion in funding to the Commodity Credit Corporation helping stabilize the American farm economy.
- $15.81B for SNAP, of which $15.51B will be in a second SNAP contingency fund (as the Secretary deems necessary to support participation should cost or participation exceed budget estimates to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID) – through September 30, 2021.
- $450M for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) of which up to $150M can be used for distribution and logistical purposes.
- $20.5M to the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program to provide guarantees to loans made by private lenders to rural businesses, similar to SBA loans for rural communities.
- $100M to ReConnect to provide around $350M to $400M in loans and grants.
The CARES Act would meet the immediate needs of America’s students and school administrators, provide funding to institutions of higher education to directly support their students, and ensure relief to student borrowers.
- Provides direct financial relief to many student loan borrowers by pausing their monthly repayment requirements for six months with no penalty.
- Codifies the Trump administration’s decision to pause collections on defaulted student loans through September 20, 2020.
- $13.5 billion in formula funding that will go directly to states to help schools respond to the coronavirus.
- $14.25 billion in funding to institutions of higher education to directly support students facing urgent needs related to coronavirus, and to support institutions as they cope with the immediate effects of coronavirus and school closures.
- Codifies the Trump administration’s offer to waive the requirement that states test their students in reading, math, and science, and identify low-performing schools, as well as reporting requirements that rely on that data.
- Allows schools to use any remaining funds from Title I – the largest program in the Every Student Succeeds Act that aims to provide all children with the opportunity to receive a high-quality education – for next year.
- Gives school districts increased flexibility in how they use block grant funds, allowing more funds to be used for technology and other activities related to coronavirus recovery.