In recent days I have seen and read a lot about the relief package being debated in Congress. As is the unfortunate reality of our times, there is a lot of misinformation that spreads quickly through social media and other unreliable news sources.
When legislators are negotiating items, it can be hard to share accurate information from reliable sources, because quite literally they are in the middle of negations. This understandably leads to the swift spread of misinformation and because that’s the only thing out there, it quickly becomes reality for many. Now that negotiations have concluded, I am pleased to have received reports this morning that outline details of the federal corona virus relief package.
The first version of the federal corona virus relief package had inadequate resources for hospitals and health care providers, no protections for workers as a condition to the government providing loans to corporations, and insufficient economic relief for struggling Americans. Rather than accept such a fundamentally flawed, partisan bill, United States Senate Democrats worked hard on to negotiate a bipartisan bill.
Here are items that are included in the federal relief package agreement because of those negotiations:
• A dramatic expansion and reform of the unemployment
insurance program, including:
o Increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600
per week and ensures that laid-off workers, on average,
will receive their full pay for four months.
o It ensures that all workers are protected whether they
work for businesses small, medium or large, along with
self-employed and workers in the gig economy.
• More than $150 billion for our health care system so that it
can provide needed treatment during this pandemic. This
o $100 billion into our hospitals and health system,
o $1 billion for the Indian Health Service,
o Critical investments in personal and protective equipment
for health care workers, testing supplies, increased
and training, new construction to house patients,
o Increase of the Strategic National Stockpile,
o Medical research into COVID-19
o Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and
providers to ensure that they receive the funding
• $150 billion to state and local governments with $8 billion
set aside for tribal governments.
• $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to
provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
• $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small
businesses with existing SBA loans.
• $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in
emergency transit funding.
• Prohibit businesses controlled by the President, Vice
President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive
Departments from receiving loans or investments from
• Make rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan
• Ban stock buybacks for the term of the government
assistance plus 1 year on any company receiving a
government loan from the bill.
• Establish robust worker protections attached to all federal
loans for businesses.
• Create real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions
under the Act, including terms of loans, investments or other
assistance to corporations.
• Create of Treasury Department Special Inspector General for
Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans
and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to
protect taxpayer dollars.
• Add a retention tax credit for employers to encourage
businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis.
• Provide income tax exclusion for individuals who are
receiving student loan repayment assistance from their
• Eliminated $3 billion bailout for big oil.
• Eliminated “secret bailout” provision that would have allowed
bailouts to corporations to be concealed for 6 months.
• Saved hundreds of thousands of airline industry jobs and
prohibited airlines from stock buybacks and CEO bonuses.
While the full text and details from the bill have not been released, I wanted to share the accurate information I have.
I am thankful to our members of Congress who are working so diligently on ensuring that desperately needed relief goes to those who need it most. I look forward to receiving more updates and will pass along information as it becomes available to me.