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US Senate Passes Third Bipartisan Coronavirus Package to Help Americans During the Crisis March 25, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced the U.S. Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help Michigan families, workers and businesses during the national coronavirus crisis. This bill provides critical funding for hospitals and health care providers, expands unemployment insurance, provides direct payments to Americans, and supports our Michigan businesses – large and small – and their employees.

“This pandemic is affecting every family across our state. That’s why I have worked hard to make sure we came together in a bipartisan way to address the major public health and economic needs we face. We know that Michigan is strong, and we will weather this crisis together,” said Senator Stabenow.

The CARES Act provides:

 

MAJOR HEALTH CARE INVESTMENTS

 

Hospitals, Health Care Providers and Equipment

$100 billion to hospitals, health care providers and facilities. The bill also includes $16 billion in additional funding to purchase personal protective equipment and other supplies, and $4.3 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support federal, state and local health agencies. $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators and other urgently needed medical supplies.

 

Mental Health and Addiction Funding

$425 million in funding to increase access to mental health and addiction treatment services in communities, and extends and expands funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.

 

Vaccine Development

$3.5 billion will go to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to expand the production of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to help combat this pandemic.

 

Rural Health Care

$25 million in funding will go toward telemedicine tools to help rural patients access medical care no matter where they live.

 

Medicare 

Boosts Medicare funds to help hospitals provide care to coronavirus patients.   

ECONOMIC STABILITY FOR FAMILIES AND WORKERS

 

Unemployment Insurance

Expands state unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, independent contractors, furloughed workers, part-time workers, tipped employees, gig workers and workers impacted by shutdowns due to COVID19. Everyone receiving unemployment insurance will receive a weekly increase of $600 through July 31, 2020 (4 months). Benefits will be extended by 13 weeks to a total of 39 weeks

Apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA or 1-866-500-0017.

 

Direct Support to Americans

Individuals will receive a $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) cash payment along with an additional $500 per child. This money, which is not subject to income tax, begins to phase out for people making more than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers) a year. To receive this cash payment, you must have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or be receiving Social Security benefits.

 

Small Businesses

Small businesses or nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees and self-employed workers will receive Small Business Interruption Loans of up to $10 million guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Repayment of those loans can be deferred for up to one year. Costs associated with keeping employees on the payroll (including providing health benefits), paying rent or mortgage and paying utility bills for the first eight weeks of the loan will be forgiven if they meet conditions related to retaining workers.

Medium & Large Businesses

There will also be loans, loan guarantees and other investments for medium and large businesses through the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Employers whose operations have been fully or partially shut down as a result of a shelter-in-place order may be eligible for a payroll tax credit to cover the costs of keeping workers on their payroll.

Companies that receive loans, loan guarantees, or other assistance will have restrictions on stock buybacks, executive compensation, and requirements to maintain employment of workers. A new Inspector General will provide oversight of the program, and all loans will be made public.

The bill includes a prohibition on businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments getting loans or investments from Treasury.

 

Aviation Industry Jobs

The bill protects over 2 million aviation industry jobs by providing direct payroll payments to keep millions of airline workers on the job and receiving paychecks. As a condition for receiving these funds, Airline companies will be prohibited from stock buybacks and dividends for the entire life of the grant they receive plus one year. Collective Bargaining Agreements negotiated by workers will be also protected. Airline companies receiving federal assistance must freeze pay for employees making over $425,000 per year and over $3 million per year. The bill also provides $10 billion to help airports deal with COVID-19 and stay viable as air travel was drastically fallen.

Provides Critically Needed Support for State and Local Services

The bill provides $150 billion for state and local government needs related to housing, education, child care and more. The Community Development Block Grant program will receive $5 billion to give states, counties and cities the resources they need to respond to the outbreak and address economic and housing issues related to the virus. Further, the bill provides over $33 billion to support child care providers, local schools and colleges that are grappling to respond the coronavirus. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will receive $900 million to help lower income households heat and cool their homes.

Relief for Michigan Farmers

A $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund will help Michigan farmers who are experiencing financial losses from the coronavirus crisis, including targeted support for fruit and vegetable growers, livestock and dairy farmers, and local food producers. Farmers and agricultural businesses are also eligible for small business loans from eligible lenders including farm credit institutions.  Those that receive funding are eligible for loan forgiveness for funds used for payroll, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.

Student Loan Relief

The legislation includes tax relief to encourage employers to implement student loan repayment programs. This provision will exclude up to $5,250 in qualifying student loan repayments paid by the employer on behalf of the employee from income for income tax purposes.

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