WASHINGTON –The House of Representatives passed HR 748, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill, which passed the Senate late on Wednesday March 27, passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. It now heads to President Donald Trump where he is expected to sign the bill into law.
This bill is the third and largest piece of legislation designed to combat the Coronavirus pandemic and protect the American economy from the associated fallout.
Key provisions of the legislation include the following:
- Cash assistance in the form of a check for lower and middle-income U.S. residents of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples, and an additional $500 for each child. The payments will be available for those with incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples.
- A tax credit for small businesses to cover a portion of wages paid to their employees during the pandemic.
- Expanded unemployment insurance to cover gig workers, self-employed, and non-profit employees.
- Eight weeks of assistance to small businesses in the form of loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
- A six-month pause on federal student loan payments with no interest accrual.
- Increased Medicare payments for hospitals that treat vulnerable coronavirus patients.
- Additional funding for Community Health Care Centers and Personal Protective Equipment.
- Expanded access to Coronavirus testing and encouraging the use of new telemedicine technologies to protect and contain the further spread of Coronavirus.
- Allows the Food and Drug Administration to quickly approve new treatments and advance vaccine research.
- A significant temporary expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, which provides a monthly supplement for purchasing food, to ensure that low-income Americans have access to the food they need to feed their families.
- Loans, loan guarantees, and other investments for large corporations, overseen by a Treasury Department inspector general. These loans will not exceed five years and must be paid back to the government.
Rep. Paul Cook said, “This is a time of true crisis. COVID-19 is a pandemic unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. While the CARES Act is not perfect, it is absolutely necessary. We must contain both the outbreak itself and the economic carnage this disease is causing.
“Most importantly, the CARES Act delivers relief directly to private citizens, in the form of individual payments, expanded unemployment, food aid, and other forms of assistance. While I would have preferred stricter provisions attached to aid for airlines and a complete removal of all extraneous add-ins, the bill meets the crisis head-on, and I consider it my duty to help those families and individuals in need. Moreover, it lays necessary groundwork for a sustained economic recovery. To these ends, I support the CARES Act and call for its immediate implementation.”
A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Congressman Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
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