BROWN SUPPORTS INTERIM CORONAVIRUS SPENDING PACKAGE TO BOOST FUNDING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, HOSPITALS AND TESTING CAPACITY
Senator Vows to Continue Working to Secure Additional Provisions for Ohioans in Future Stimulus Efforts
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today supported the Senate bill to provide additional funding for small businesses, hospitals and increased testing capacity. The bill was passed by unanimous consent and is expected to pass the House of Representatives this week. The bill provides $470 billion, including:
- $310 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
o This includes $60 billion for smaller lenders, including $30 billion for small banks and credit unions and other community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions
- $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which will allow approximately $300 billion in loans to small businesses
- $10 billion for the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Grant program
- $75 billion in emergency money for our health care system, including our hospitals
- $25 billion to increase testing and contact tracing capabilities
“This pandemic is taking a serious toll on our small businesses across Ohio. Many have been put in an impossible position and forced to close their doors to keep customers and employees safe, but they still have bills coming due. We must do everything we can to help them during this uncertain time. Providing additional funding to programs like PPP and EIDL will help small businesses weather the storm and open back up once health experts say the coast is clear,” said Brown.
Brown continued, “This legislation also provides critical funding for hospitals and for increased testing. This is a good start, but more will be needed in future relief efforts. People want to go back to work, school and the grocery store without being terrified. Any future stimulus bill must include a comprehensive plan to implement mandatory safety protections for all workers, testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine protocols. It also needs to include Pandemic Premium Pay for frontline workers, protections that will allow people to stay in their homes and provisions to help state and local governments cover funding gaps from lost revenue.”
Earlier today, Brown secured a commitment from the White House that a future stimulus package will allow state and local governments to replace lost revenue with funding from the CARES Act. President Trump announced this following a letter Brown wrote to Senate Leaders demanding that the Senate act swiftly to meet the growing challenges facing Ohio’s communities. The CARES Act provides money intended to support state and local governments in the devastating wake of COVID-19. Following passage, Senator Brown called for maximum flexibility in how this money could be spent, including as replacement for lost revenue. Today’s commitment from the White House affirms this badly needed flexibility.
Over the weekend, Brown also wrote to President Trump calling on the Administration to increase testing capacity, facilitate intensive contact tracing, enact enforceable worker safety protections, and support effective isolation and quarantine methods in advance of any attempts to relax social distancing guidelines or reopen the economy. Brown argued that bolstering these measurers, which are based on recommendations from public health officials, will help protect the health and safety of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and allow businesses to reopen and workers to go back to work with confidence.
Brown has been pushing to secure Pandemic Premium Pay, or hazard pay, in any future stimulus bill. Brown introduced a proposal on this last month, and unveiled a plan for this ‘Heroes Fund’ earlier this month with Senate Democrats. The COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” would help reward, retain and recruit essential workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic. The bill includes a premium pay increase of up to $25,000 for essential workers, equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until December 31, 2020; and a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.
Brown also vowed to continue fighting for additional housing protections that would better protect consumers and allow families to stay in their homes.
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