|Additional Support for Small Businesses and Providers
|Earlier today, President Trump signed into law H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement (PPP & HCE) Act. The bill is phase 3.5 of the COVID19 relief package. It passed the Senate earlier this week and passed the House yesterday with my support.
The Coronavirus pandemic has left a trail of destruction in its wake – hundreds of thousands who have been diagnosed with the virus, nearly 50,000 dead, and many millions more who have lost their livelihood and are feeling financial pain as a result. Last week over four million Americans lost their jobs, bringing the total number of people out of work to more than twenty-six million.
Unfortunately, rather than helping small businesses stay afloat and keeping workers employed, some in Washington decided to play partisan games and delay funding for small businesses. Thankfully, today we were finally able to pass legislation to help keep Americans employed and aid our economy.
This legislation adds $310 billion in funding to the Paycheck Protection Program and $60 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, both of which are critical in helping small businesses stay alive and maintain payroll during this period of distress. The bill also includes $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers, ensuring rural hospitals will receive this much-needed funding to endure this pandemic. Lastly, $25 billion is provided for additional testing, which is vital to reopening the economy.
The Coronavirus truly is an invisible enemy, and it’s vital that all Americans pull together to come through this difficult time. As we move forward, more action will likely be needed, but this legislation helps our small businesses, health care providers and others during this unprecedented time.
To read more on the highlights of the bill, click here.
|Town Hall Event
|This evening I will be joining my colleagues Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator Joe Manchin III, Congresswomen Carol Miller and Doctor Clay Marsh from West Virginia University on WDTV 5 News to discuss West Virginia’s response to COVID19 and next steps.
The segment will also air on WVFX this evening. Tomorrow it will be broadcast on WSAZ Charleston and WTAP in Parkersburg. Make sure to tune in!
Click here to stream the town hall.
|Small Business Resources
|The U.S. Department of Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) will soon be open again! Small business owners can visit the SBA website for more information on what programs may be best for your business.
Who is eligible for PPP? Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, non-profits, sole proprietors, self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. The PPP is a forgivable loan, if an employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the PPP loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
For more information on PPP, click here.
For more information on EIDL, click here.
|Fighting A Medical Supplies Shortage
|Last week, Representative David Trone (D-MD) and I along with 30 Members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging HHS to issue guaranteed purchase orders for medical supplies needed to combat the outbreak of COVID-19. The U.S. is very low on medical equipment and we must ensure our front line workers have the resources to safely combat this pandemic.
To read more, click here.
|Getting Back to Work
While it is very important to reopen the American economy, we should be mindful to do so in a safe and cautious manner. Not all areas of the country have been hit the same by this pandemic, and it is important to remember that we must “flatten the curve” before returning to normal, everyday life.
For more information, click here.
President Trump released a three-phase approach on how we should reopen American businesses and public areas. The first phase of the plan requires areas to have a drop-in COVID-19 cases over a two week period, once this happens we can begin to open up restaurants, churches, gyms, while still being mindful of social distancing.The second phase of the plan includes reopening schools and essential travel, while still maintaining social distancing. Finally, the third phase of the plan suggests states meet testing criteria for a third time before allowing all employees back to work and allowing hospital visits.
These guidelines will assist state and local officials in reopening the economy in a smart and safe way. The decision is left open to the states on when to start implementing this three-phased approach. It is important we start planning for the light at the end of the tunnel and work towards easing back restrictions.
|Tracking Your Stimulus Payment
|Last week, Americans started to receive the Economic Impact payments if they filed a 2019 or 2018 tax return and have their direct deposit information set up. If you have not yet received your payment, the IRS created a portal to easily track when yours should arrive.
For more information, click here.
|Did you complete the census?
West Virginia is ranked second to last on the self-response rate to the 2020 census. The national average rate of completion is 50.1%, whereas in West Virginia the rate is 40.3%. When you respond to the census, you help your community gets its fair share of money per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs. Complete the census online, by mail, or call-in so you can be counted!
For more information on the census, click here.
|We encourage everyone to follow the CDC recommendations on how to help protect yourself and others.
Take these steps to protect yourself:
Take these steps to protect others:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, which the chorus to Country Roads lasts about that long.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in the community.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public settings.
For more updated information from the CDC click here.
- Stay home if you are except to receive medical care.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and throw away the tissue.
- Clean and disinfect touched surface areas daily.
|West Virginia Response to COVID19
|Over nine hundred COVID19 cases have been confirmed in West Virginia as of today. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources established a toll-free hotline for questions from the public and medical providers concerning the pandemic. The department also has a website with the most up-to-date information regarding the confirmed and pending cases.
As a result from the increasing case numbers, Governor Jim Justice issued a STAY-AT-HOME order on March 24th.
Click here for FAQ's on the Governor's order.
Click here for the coronavirus.wv.gov website.
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Toll-Free Hotline 24/7
1- 800 - 887- 4304