House Minority Whip Steve Scalise outlines CARES Act, help for small business and veterans March 26, 2020BlogJessica Hemingway From House Minority Whip Steve Scalise Last night, the Senate unanimously passed the CARES Act. This package will provide further assistance to our economy, including direct relief payments to most American taxpayers. In this historic moment, the House must rise above partisanship and move to immediately take up the CARES Act. The American people are counting on us for quick, decisive action, and I’m confident we’ll come together at this time and rise to meet this challenge. Below, you will find an update on what the bipartisan CARES Act package includes: Assistance for Individuals and Families The CARES Act provides direct relief payments to most taxpayers, providing cash immediately to individuals and families. Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child. This phases out beginning at $75,000 for individuals/$112,500 head of household/$150,000 for joint filers. Eligibility will be based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns. For Social Security beneficiaries, including retirement and disability, eligibility will be based on information from the Social Security Administration. Help for Small Businesses The CARES Act creates the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans will be forgiven, helping workers remain employed and allowing small businesses and our economy to come back after the crisis. The Paycheck Protection Program would cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. The CARES Act allows regulatory relief so banks can grant loan forbearance for otherwise healthy businesses struggling while business has been shut down. Strengthening our Hospitals and Healthcare System The CARES Act rushes resources to hospitals, doctors and other front-line providers. It provides $100 billion to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers continue to receive the support they need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue. It also includes $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts.The CARES Act expands the use of Telehealth medicine in order to allow health professionals to diagnose and treat patients in a safe and faster environment.Click here for a top line summary of the CARES Act, courtesy of the House Republican Conference. Click here for the full text of the CARES Act. An Update on Coronavirus Resources Available to You Louisiana Receives Major Disaster Declaration from President Trump This week, President Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Louisiana. This declaration unlocks additional tools and millions of dollars in federal funding to combat the Coronavirus and help people in need across our state. Information for Small Businesses The U.S. Small Business Administration announced changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Now, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment. Louisiana small businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to Coronavirus are now eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can apply online here. Information for Veterans The Department of Veterans Affairs has a dedicated website for its Coronavirus response, as well as Coronavirus FAQs: what veterans need to know. Any Veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. The VA urges Veterans to call before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility. While many of my staff are teleworking, my offices remain available by phone, email and through my website so that we can respond to all constituent questions and concerns. I will continue to keep my website updated with the most accurate and timely information.