03.25.20

Senate Passes Historic $2 Trillion Coronavirus Emergency Relief Bill

Emergency funding package to support American health care professionals, workers, families, and businesses

Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) released the following statement after the Senate passage of H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third phase of coronavirus emergency funding:

“Our ability to confront the coronavirus pandemic in the coming weeks depends on the action we take today. Doctors, nurses, small businesses, and families are all facing unprecedented strain and need immediate resources to weather this storm. This emergency funding package will provide immediate liquidity to struggling businesses and families, help stabilize our nation’s key industries, and expand unemployment insurance. Most importantly, this bill supports the brave health care workers and first responders fighting the coronavirus outbreak on the frontlines. 

“Without wasting any additional time, the House should take up and pass this bill as quickly as possible, so Congress can deliver critical relief to anxious American families, workers, and businesses.”

Background:

The CARES Act represents the third phase of emergency funding Congress has provided to combat coronavirus and economic uncertainty. It provides relief to doctors, nurses, workers, small businesses, and key industries. Specifically, the CARES Act does the following

  • Provides immediate financial relief to American workers and families who fall below the income threshold by distributing up to $1,200 to individuals, $2,400 to married couples, and $500 per eligible child. This also includes America’s retirees who receive Social Security.
  • Provides $117 billion for hospitals and veterans’ health care to increase the supply of drugs, ventilators, and personal protective equipment for health care professionals across the nation.
  • Provides $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure additional personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies.
  • Provides $11 billion to increase the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics.
  • Expands unemployment insurance for independent contractors and self-employed to receive unemployment and increases benefits by adding $600 per week for up to four months. 
  • Provides $350 billion to help small businesses and their employees by providing eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally-guaranteed loans for small businesses that maintain employees’ payroll during this emergency. A portion of this loan could be used for rent, interest on mortgage, and utilities. If a company keeps their workers on payroll the full amount of the loan will be forgiven. This provision also includes $10 billion for Small Business Administration emergency grants to help small businesses’ operating costs. 
  • Provides $150 billion to states, territories, and tribal governments to use for expenditures incurred as a result of this public health emergency.
  • Provides $500 billion for America’s key industries, including $29 billion for the airline industry and $17 billion for businesses in national security. The remaining $454 billion will be designated as loans to businesses, states, and municipalities. 
  • Defers Department of Education student loan payments, principal, and interests, without penalty, through September 30, 2020.

The CARES Act follows two emergency funding packages that Congress passed and the President signed into law earlier this month. The first, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, provided $7.8 billion to increase federal coordination with state and local officials. It also supported the development and distribution of medical countermeasures to communities across the nation. This legislation passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 96-1 on March 5, 2020.

The second installment, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, provided free coronavirus testing, expanded paid family leave, and increased emergency nutritional assistance. This legislation passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 90-8 on March 18, 2020.