Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which is the third piece of legislation to combat the COVID-19 illness. The bipartisan legislation now heads to the President who has suggested he will sign the bill into law.
“Ensuring the health and economic security for all hard working Iowans and Americans is my top priority. That is why I am pleased the bill passed today gets the resources and tools to the people and workers who have been affected by COVID-19. This bill contains provisions to make health care affordable and accessible, bolster the health care system, protect frontline response workers, support small businesses and assist states and local governments.
As with all compromise pieces of legislation, this bill did not contain everything I would have liked and I don’t support every provision, which is why we will have to make some fixes in future legislation. The American people need and deserve a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe from the COVID-19 illness.
That is why I will continue working with my colleagues on future bills to make sure hardworking Iowans and Americans get the care they need and have the economic security they deserve.”
This bill marks the third piece of legislation that has passed to help combat the COVID-19 illness that has spread worldwide. Loebsack has supported all three bills and will continue working with his colleagues on future legislation that will bring further relief to Iowans and people across the country.
Specifically, the CARES Act includes:
- $350 billion for Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses with zero-fee loans to retain employees and their salary levels.
- Unemployment benefits expanded. This includes an increase of $600 per week and an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to those who have already exhausted regular benefits.
- Individual payments of $1,200 and $2,400 for married couples and includes $500 per child.
- Health insurers will cover any Covid-19 vaccines without any cost-sharing.
- Any lab that runs a Covid-19 diagnostic test will be required to report results to HHS.
- $15.5 billion for increased need for SNAP program
- $5 billion additional funding for Community Development Block Grants for flexible funding to state and local governments.
- $150 million in grants for rural hospital to respond to increased demand.
- $1.3 billion supplemental grants to expand services for Community Health Centers.
- $100 million in reconnect broadband grants for state and local governments to provide broadband in rural areas.
- $100 million for PPE for firefighters and emergency responders.
- $1.25 billion for public housing to ensure tenants remain stably housed during this crisis.
- $4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants.
$1 billion for Community Service Block Grants.
- $100 billion in direct payments to Hospitals
Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics can be used for telehealth services and will be reimbursed based on the national average for these services.
- Medicare telehealth service requirements can be waived.
- Medicare sequestration delayed through the end of the year
- Public Health Programs extended through Nov. 30, 2020, including Community Health Centers, THCGME, National Health Service Corps, Special Diabetes Program, Money Follows the Person
- $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs
- Suspends student loan payments and interest through September 30.
- $30.8 billion to create an Education Stabilization Fund to support elementary and secondary schools as well as higher education institutions
$20 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical services, facilities, community care, and information technology systems
- Supports expanded access to mental health services for isolated veterans through telehealth or VA Video Connect
- $1 billion for procurement expenses under the Defense Production Act
- Over $1 billion to support the Army and Air National Guard
- $9.5 billion in emergency aid to farmers
- $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation