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Friday, March 27, 2020

Congress passes COVID-19 relief package

Rep. Langevin lists its main points

WATCH LIVE: NewsHour answers your questions on the novel ...Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today voted in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a bipartisan relief package to support working families, bolster health care systems, assist state and local governments, and stabilize the nation’s economy as communities grapple with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis. The package, which will provide more than $2 trillion to individuals and businesses, passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday. It now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. 

Here is Jim Langevin's description

“In these unprecedented times, the CARES Act is the unprecedented response we need to help the families, workers and small businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. This pandemic has already inflicted an enormous toll, but through our bipartisan efforts, we have passed a sweeping relief package that will begin to meet the magnitude of the threat we face today.

“In recent weeks, my priority has been to keep people safe and provide immediate assistance to hardworking people, mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, and frontline medical professionals who are giving it their all during these difficult times. I have taken every opportunity to connect with Rhode Islanders to hear directly how this pandemic has affected them. As we face a staggering rise in unemployment claims, I’m pleased that this package builds on our previous relief efforts and includes many provisions to meet some of our most pressing issues head on and ultimately protect the nation’s economy. 

“With passage of the CARES Act, we will put money into the hands of people so they can provide for their families and weather this emergency. As small business owners across the nation contemplate their futures and those of their workers, this bill pushes to make them whole through bridge loans that will be forgiven if businesses retain their employees. To save lives and keep Americans healthy, we are also making desperately needed investments to better prepare our medical facilities and provide our nurses and doctors with the lifesaving equipment they need to protect themselves and their patients. With surging cases locally, Rhode Island has experienced incredible hardship. Included in the CARES Act is vital funding for state and local governments, including $1.25 billion in support for the Ocean State.

“This crisis is already one of the worst most of us have seen in our lifetimes, but it is not insurmountable. Congress has collectively acted to put the people of America first. It is heartbreaking that Americans find themselves in this uncertainty by no fault of their own, but I will continue to fight each day to make sure that we rise from this stronger than before.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provides:

  • $1,200 one-time payment per adult and $500 per child; these payments will phase out for individuals making more than $75,000 (or couples making more than $150,000)
  • A $600 a week boost to unemployment insurance benefits for 4 months
  • A temporary unemployment insurance program for part-time, self-employed, gig economy, and other non-traditional workers
  • Backing for $350 billion in loans to help small businesses and nonprofits make payroll and pay rent; the loans will be forgiven for businesses that don’t lay off workers
  • $150 billion for Coronavirus Relief Fund for state aide, including $1.25 billion for Rhode Island
  • $100 billion for health care providers to cover coronavirus-related costs
  • $27 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund
  • $30.75 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund to support local school systems and higher education institutions
  • $15.8 billion in additional funding for SNAP to confront food insecurity and emergency funding for other nutrition programs, including $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs and $450 million for food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program
  • $45 billion for FEMA Disaster Relief Fund for state, local, and tribal governments