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Case Praises Final Congressional Approval of $484 Billion of New Federal COVID-19 Aid

It’s the latest of four emergency measures totaling some $2.5 trillion to help Americans address the pandemic since early March

Washington, April 23, 2020

(Honolulu, HI) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) today announced that his U.S. House of Representatives today passed its 4th emergency funding measure since early March focused on addressing the myriad health, economic social emergencies triggered by COVID-19.

The President is expected to sign the bill into law immediately.

“Our latest measure will fund another $383 billion to help our nation’s small businesses retain their employees and survive the worst of the crisis, for a total of $693 billion to date,” said Case.

“It also provides another $75 billion, over the initial $100 billion, to assist our hospitals and health care providers to maintain the widest care and protect our health care workers and patients with personal protective equipment.

“It further provides another $25 billion to accelerate and expand quick and reliable COVID-19 testing.”

Congress’ latest emergency assistance measure followed three prior laws since the outbreak of COVID-19 in our country and its widespread public health and economic devastation. Total federal emergency assistance through these four measures totals some $2.5 trillion.

The most recent was the CARES Act, a $1.8 trillion measure which became law on March 27th. That bill provided major assistance to our businesses, enhanced state unemployment benefits for our laid-off workers, provided for a direct economic impact payment to most Americans, and delivered major support to our state and local governments and health care providers.

Case continued: “For our Hawai’i, which thus far is faring better than most of our country in containing COVID-19 but is among the very hardest hit economically, these federal funds have been critical.

“Through the CARES Act, they total somewhere close to $5 billion here or on its way, and my Hawai’i congressional delegation colleagues and I are working very hard to assure that we benefit fully from this most recent measure as well.

“All of this is good news. But I’m not going to rest on it and sugar-coat the incredible challenges we continue to face, the incredible needs still here and growing, and the incredible difficulties already experienced in getting this critical federal assistance to where it is needed most.

“The small business assistance has not gotten to enough of our small businesses fast enough; the unemployment benefits have not gotten to too many fast enough; the direct payments have arrived for many but are delayed for too many others; and our hospitals and health care providers are still working with unacceptable shortages of PPE and other conditions.

“While there have been some calls to open our doors to business and get back to our workplaces, we cannot have a healthy economic and social life unless and until our residents and visitors are healthy and safe from the virus,” said Case.

“That is why this latest funding package is critical to seeing our people and businesses through the worst of the virus and beyond the curve into stability and recovery,” said Case.

Highlights of the funding package include:

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)

This funding for the SBA’s small business assistance programs include:

  • Increased authorization for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from $349 billion to $659 billion.
  • Increased authorization for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program from $10 billion to $20 billion. In addition, small farms and other small agricultural enterprises who meet certain standards will now have access to this program.
  • Creation of a set-aside for smaller insured depository institutions, credit unions and community financial institutions for the PPP to ensure the program is more widely available to businesses without ready access to regular banking.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) 

  • Aid for Health Care Providers: $75 billion for reimbursement to hospitals and health care providers to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue. This funding is in addition to the $100 billion previously provided in the CARES Act.
  • Expanded Testing: $25 billion to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests. This includes:
  • $11 billion for states, localities, territories and tribes to develop, purchase, administer, process and analyze COVID-19 tests; scale-up laboratory capacity; and support employer testing.
  • Up to $1 billion may be used to cover costs of testing for the uninsured.
  • $1.8 billion provided to the National Institutes of Health to develop, validate, improve and implement testing and associated technologies; to accelerate research, development, and implementation of point-of-care and other rapid testing; and for partnerships with governmental and non-governmental entities to research, develop, and implement the activities.
  • $1 billion provided to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity expansion, contact tracing, public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.
  • Requires plan from states, localities, territories and tribes on how resources will be used for testing and easing COVID-19 community mitigation policies.
  • Requires strategic plan related to providing federal assistance to States for testing and increasing testing capacity.
  • Oversight: Includes $6 million for HHS Office of Inspector General for oversight activities.

 

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