Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the coronavirus response legislation passed unanimously by the Senate today:
“The agreement reached on this economic relief and public health resource legislation shows that Congress is serious about stabilizing the economy as the country continues to fight the coronavirus.
“This is the largest economic recovery bill ever passed by Congress, and it’s necessary. With mass layoffs, unemployment claims at record highs and the American economy essentially placed on pause, Congress must steady the economy. That means helping families, bolstering our health care system and assisting companies that employ millions and are suffering substantial losses through no fault of their own.
“It’s critical that Americans take this pandemic seriously and continue to stay home. But Congress must ensure that idle workers can still afford to put food on the table and pay their bills.
“This agreement sends checks to millions of Americans so families can pay their bills. It provides $377 billion to help small businesses stay afloat. It includes $150 billion to further improve our health care system’s capacity to address the virus. It provides $500 billion in government assistance to economically important industries that employ millions of Americans. And it provides an extra $600 per week and an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to cover the income for workers who have been laid off.
“This will be one of the most important votes any of us will cast. My hope is that this bill will help America get through this public health crisis together.”
What’s in the bill:
- Help for small businesses: $350 billion in loans and loan guarantees for small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees), $10 billion for emergency small business grants and $17 billion for six months of small business loan forbearance. Most loans will be forgiven if loan recipients keep employees on payroll during the emergency.
- Checks to individuals: $1,200 checks would go to most adults and $500 for each child. People with incomes up to $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers) will receive full benefits. Benefits gradually decrease to zero at $99,000 in income ($198,000 for joint filers).
- Unemployment insurance: Expands unemployment insurance with an extra $600 per week in benefits and an additional 13 weeks of federal benefits after a worker’s state unemployment benefits run out. Part-time, self-employed and gig workers, a large portion of California’s workforce, are included.
- Health care assistance: $150 billion to ensure that hospitals can afford to remain open and secure supplies of essential equipment, including $100 billion for hospitals, $16 billion to replenish the national stockpile of medical supplies, $3.5 billion for vaccine development efforts, $1 billion for Defense Production Act efforts, $1 billion to the Indian Health Service, $200 million for nursing homes and $4.3 billion for state and local public health departments.
- Aid to distressed industries: $500 billion for Treasury to provide loans, investments and loan guarantees to distressed industries. All disbursements must be publicly disclosed in real-time and the program will be overseen by an inspector general with subpoena power, a congressional oversight commission and a special Pandemic Response Accountability Board. Corporations can’t use the taxpayer funds for stock buybacks or pay dividends to shareholders. The president, vice president, heads of executive departments, members of Congress and their families can’t benefit from this aid.
- Assistance to local governments: $150 billion for state, local and tribal governments to compensate for lost revenues and extra expenses related to the current crisis. An additional $5 billion is provided to local governments through the Community Development Block Grant program.
- Homelessness and housing protections: $7 billion for homeless assistance and rental assistance programs. The bill also includes a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for people with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration.
- Food assistance: Nearly $16 billion total for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to ensure families and individuals continue receiving assistance to buy groceries. $100 million would be for tribal food programs.
- Transportation assistance: $25 billion for transit systems and $10 billion for airports to make up for lost revenue due to an almost 90 percent drop in travelers.
- Education funding: $31 billion for grants for local school districts and higher education institutions to continue providing educational services to their students.
Additional information on the bill can be read HERE.