WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan released the following statement after the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that the Senate passed unanimously on Thursday. The legislation now heads to the president’s desk for signature.
“Our country has not faced a crisis like this pandemic in generations, and this bipartisan legislation will provide significant support for Americans’ health and economic well-being,” Senator Hassan said. “This bill will provide direct financial support to individuals and small businesses, help give hospitals and health care workers the resources that they need to scale up the ability to treat patients, and deliver at least $1.25 billion to New Hampshire, so that the state and local governments can ramp up their COVID-19 response efforts and make sure that essential services continue. I look forward to the president quickly signing this bill into law to help the Granite Staters whose lives are being upended by this crisis.”
Senator Hassan continued, “I will continue to work closely with the governor, the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation, and public health officials to support response efforts, and I want to thank all Granite Staters for everything that you are doing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
See below for some of the key New Hampshire priorities that Senator Hassan fought to include in the agreement:
Providing Support for Individuals and Families
· Provides direct cash assistance to individuals in the form of $1,200 recovery rebates, with an additional $500 rebate for every child, to everyone who files a tax return and to seniors receiving Social Security. These rebates are phased out for higher-income individuals.
· Provides federal funding for states to expand unemployment systems to meet the emergency needs of workers as a result of COVID-19, including: paying expanded weekly benefits for four months, covering individuals who are self-employed, allowing states to extend benefits for current unemployment recipients for 13 weeks, and reimbursing 50 percent of payments typically covered by nonprofits and government entities.
· Provides emergency funding for child care, including more than $3 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant and increased funding to Head Start to help ensure that child care centers in New Hampshire and across the country can help meet the current child care needs of frontline workers, and have the capacity to reopen if forced to close during this crisis.
Providing Essential Resources to Hospitals and Patients
· Provides more than $100 billion to help hospitals and frontline health care workers scale up their capacity to treat more patients, purchase essential supplies and personal protective equipment, and cover the costs related to hospitals cancelling elective procedures.
· Increases Medicare reimbursement rates for COVID-19 patients, delays payment cuts to hospitals that treat a large proportion of Medicaid beneficiaries, and provides additional emergency funding to community health centers.
· Expands access to telehealth services by streamlining the process used to establish a patient relationship over telehealth and allowing reimbursement for additional providers such as federally qualified health centers and rural health centers.
Providing Support for Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Economic Stabilization
· Provides direct cash assistance to small employers – including businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees – through a new $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program at the Small Business Administration (SBA) that fully covers up to 2 months of payroll, rent, and other ongoing expenses for small businesses who keep employees on their payroll.
· Provides an immediate $10,000 emergency grant within three days to small employers who apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan with the SBA.
· Includes the Small Business Debt Relief Act, cosponsored by Senator Hassan, which would make loan payments on behalf of small businesses participating in several of SBA’s loan programs – including principal, interests, and fees – for six months.
· Provides $500 billion in economic stabilization funding, including:
o Funding for the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending program, which facilitates loans and financial assistance to small businesses, consumers, nonprofits, and state and local governments.
o Loans to the hardest-hit industries, with strong guardrails to provide protections for workers and prevent stock buybacks.
· Provides direct assistance to small nonprofits through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, expands tax incentives for charitable contributions by individuals and businesses, gives midsize nonprofits access to the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending program, and provides billions of dollars in emergency appropriations to critical grant programs.
Providing Direct Assistance to State and Local Governments
· Contributes $150 billion to a Coronavirus Relief Fund that will assist states incurring costs and losing revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis. New Hampshire will receive at least $1.25 billion in relief from this fund.
· Creates a more than $30 billion grant program to fund the emergency needs of our public schools and colleges that have resulted from COVID-19, including funding for needed technology for remote learning and increased sanitation needs.