Dear Colleague on Interim Emergency Package Aiding Small Businesses, Hospitals and Health Care Workers
Dear Democratic Colleague,
Good news: the Administration has agreed to support our interim emergency coronavirus package to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the Senate has passed the legislation.
Two weeks ago, on April 7th, Secretary Mnuchin asked for a quarter of a trillion dollars strictly for the Paycheck Protection Program, saying that Leader McConnell was going to bring that proposal to the Senate Floor in 48 hours. The next day, April 8th, Congressional Democrats introduced our alternative, which contained real fixes to expand and speed up access to capital for vulnerable communities and robust funding for health workers, frontline workers and testing. On April 9th, McConnell brought the Administration’s proposal to the Floor, where it failed, and rejected our bill by Senate Democrats.
Since that time, Senate Republicans were insisting that this was only way they were going to proceed and that Democrats were holding up funding for small business. They could have then saved time by accepting what we were proposing, which was what passed the Senate today by unanimous consent.
We can all be proud that we flipped this emergency package from an insufficient Republican plan that left behind hospitals and health workers and did nothing to aid the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses. Instead, what was presented today on the Floor of the Senate was a strong agreement that follows the path set by the bipartisan CARES Act and recommended by Congressional Democrats.
- For Small Business: Democrats secured an agreement that strengthened the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion in additional funding, including billions reserved for businesses in underserved rural, urban and tribal communities. We expanded small business support beyond PPP with $50 billion for emergency disaster lending, translating into more than $350 billion in loans, and $10 billion in emergency disaster grants.
- For Hospitals, Health Workers and Testing: Democrats secured $75 billion for hospitals and physicians – many which are losing revenue every day. Hospitals and the medical profession are risking their lives and the funding also helps buy PPE. In addition, the Democrats insisted on $25 billion for testing, which is the key to reopening the economy and resuming our lives. The Administration has agreed to a national strategic testing policy that will focus on increasing domestic testing capacity and will address disparities in all communities. Twenty-one days after enactment, the Secretary must issue a report on Covid testing and shall include data on demographic characteristics including race, ethnicity and geographic regions, which must be updated every 30 days. The report will also include numbers and rates of cases, hospitalizations and deaths as a result of Covid.
After the House passes this legislation on Thursday, we will immediately get to work on CARES 2, which must put the health and safety of the American people first with strong funding for health care, police, fire, EMS, and other essential workers. Our health and safety will be endangered if we cannot pay those who sacrifice to keep us safe.
Thank you for your active participation in this success. I look forward to our Caucus conference call tomorrow at 11 am E.T. to discuss next steps.