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House to Vote on Third Coronavirus Response Package and Key Provisions from Ways and Means Democrats

March 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on Congress’s third coronavirus response package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes several provisions Ways and Means Committee Democrats initially drafted for inclusion in the House’s Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

“The agreement Congress reached achieves two of our primary goals: quickly putting money directly in Americans’ pockets and providing expanded, enhanced unemployment compensation for workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus,” said Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA). “In recognition that this emergency is most centrally a public health crisis, the legislation also sets aside $100 billion in funding to help hospitals that are stretched thin while treating growing numbers of coronavirus patients. This package isn’t perfect, but I’m relieved that the House and Senate reached enough consensus to provide meaningful relief to millions of Americans who are experiencing extreme hardship due to COVID-19.”

Provisions Ways and Means Democrats secured in the compromise package include:

 

Relief for workers:

  • An additional $600 per week for the next four months for any worker affected by COVID-19 and eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC)  benefits.
  • Full, $1,200 economic assistance payments for American adults, including for the lowest income taxpayers.
  • Assistance for nonprofits, tribal governments, and state and local governments that pay the cost of UC benefits for their employees
  • 13 weeks of additional UC benefits for those who need them, in all states.
  • Expanded eligibility to cover self-employed and “gig economy” workers, as well as individuals who couldn’t start work due to COVID-19
  • Full federal funding for Short-term Compensation Programs, which allow struggling employers to enter into agreements with state UC programs to reduce employee hours and have them collect partial UC for the lost hours.

 

Relief for struggling businesses:

  • An Employee Retention Credit, which incentivizes employers – including nonprofits – a to keep employees on the payroll, receiving uninterrupted pay and benefits.
  • The temporary reversal of a provision in the 2017 Republican tax law to allow businesses to carry back losses to any of the last five years.

 

Relief for hospitals and patients:

  • $100 billion of additional funding to support strained hospitals caring for coronavirus patients.
  • Free vaccines for individuals with insurance. Although there is no COVID-19 vaccine yet, the legislation ensures that individuals with insurance will be able to access it at no charge when it does become available.
  • Telehealth flexibility. Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers will be able to bill directly for telehealth services during the coronavirus crisis.
  • The legislation pauses the Medicare sequester during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, giving Medicare providers an immediate two percent increase in their Medicare payments.
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Additional information on Ways and Means Democrats’ priorities in the CARES Act is available HERE.

 

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