Congressional Action Updates

Congress recently passed three packages to combat the coronavirus:

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

The first, H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 which is:

  • An $8.3 billion funding package that includes:

    • More than $3 billion towards the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine, 

    • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response, and funds a low-interest loan program for small business who are affected.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The second is H.R. 6201 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This legislation focused directly on providing support for America’s families, who must be our first priority during this crisis, and includes:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. 

  • Paid emergency leave, with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. 

  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition, and food banks. 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The third, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which immediately bolsters our health care response and our economy. Included in this package are

  • Small Business resources through the new Paycheck Protection Program which provides low interest, Federally guaranteed loans for small businesses to retain workers and maintain payroll, lease, and utility payments. 
  • Recovery Rebates to Individuals to provide direct funds to Americans to cover necessary expenses during the  COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Expanded Pandemic Unemployment Insurance which provides unemployment benefits to individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to work because of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will cover self-employed workers (including gig workers and independent contractors), part-time workers, and those with limited work histories.
  • Recovery Funds to States and Localities which provides Illinois an estimated $4.9 billion to help reimburse the costs of fighting COVID-19. 

The CARES Act, which Congress passed March 28, is a big step toward addressing Americans’ pressing economic concerns. While not perfect, this wide-ranging rescue package provides rapid and meaningful relief for individuals, businesses, and those responding to the pandemic on the ground. 

  • $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund:  Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to support the response by states and localities to the coronavirus pandemic. Illinois could receive nearly $4.9 billion desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents. 

  • $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits:  Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.

  • Direct Monetary Payments:  Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.

  • More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief:  Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.

  • Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research:  Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.

Increased Funding for Key Programs

  • $900 million for LIHEAP to help lower-income households heat and cool their homes.

  • $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to assist food banks across the country.

  • $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Summer Food Service Program.

  • $15.8 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to ensure vulnerable populations can access meals.

  • More than $7 billion for affordable housing, $4 billion of which will assist individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homelessness prevention assistance to help combat the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • $1.25 billion for Section 8 vouchers to preserve Section 8 voucher rental assistance for seniors, the disabled, and low-income working families, who will experience loss of income from the coronavirus.

  • $1 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance. This involves HUD directly contracting with private landlords to provide affordable homes to low-income tenants at certain properties.

  • $50 million for Housing for the Elderly. This funding provides capital advances to private, non-profit sponsors to finance the development of housing for elderly residents.

  • $15 million for Housing for People with Disabilities. These funds provide interest-free capital advances and operating subsidies to non-profit developers of affordable housing for persons with disabilities and provide project rental assistance to state housing agencies.

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

This $480 billion interim funding bill will support small businesses, hospitals, and nationwide COVID-19 testing. This package will provide support for:

  • Small businesses: This bill strengthens the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion in additional funding, with $30 billion for CDFIs, community-based lenders, small banks, small credit unions, and $30 billion for mid-sized banks and credit unions. It also includes $50 billion for SBA emergency disaster loans and $10 billion for SBA emergency disaster grants. 
  • Hospitals and health care workers: Additionally, it provides $75 billion to hospitals, health systems, and frontline workers for resources like Personal Protective Equipment. The Administration has also agreed to key improvements to existing programs helping hospitals, including lowering interest rates and making their loans easier to pay off.
  • All Americans: The bill also allocates $25 billion for increased testing, which is the key to reopening the economy and resuming our lives. It also requires the Administration to issue reports on COVID-19 testing, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, including data on demographic characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, sex, and geographic region. 

My staff and I are here to serve you. To do so effectively, the office will be implementing the new operating procedures, consistent with guidance from public health and safety officials and directives from the House Sergeant at Arms. Learn more here.

The safety of you and your loved ones is of the utmost importance. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our DC at (202) 225-4561 or our Glen Ellyn office at (630) 520-9450.