Rep. Austin Scott Introduces Legislation to Provide Emergency Assistance for Rural Health, Safety, and Educational Facilities
WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, today released the below statement upon introducing legislation to provide emergency assistance for rural health, safety, and educational facilities:
“Over the past few months, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic devastate vulnerable rural areas across the country. It is imperative that Congress provide the United States Department of Agriculture a flexible framework to allocate the resources that rural America desperately needs to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.” said Rep. Scott.
Rep. Scott’s bill, the Assistance for Rural Health, Safety, and Educational Facilities Act (H.R. 7758), would provide the Secretary of Agriculture with $4 billion to assist rural facilities offering essential health, education, and public safety services. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Provide grants to for-profit and not-for profit health facilities, public education facilities, and public safety facilities in communities under 20,000 people;
- Provide 0 and 1 percent interest loans, loan forgiveness, and loan modifications to not-for-profit hospitals, public education facilities, and public safety facilities in communities under 20,000 people; and
- Offset loan guarantee fees for for-profit and not-for-profit health facilities, public education facilities, and public safety facilities in communities under 50,000 people.
The bill would also allow the Secretary the ability to provide grants and loans for certain operating expenses, as well as the traditional costs associated with infrastructure construction.
Original co-sponsors of H.R. 7758 include Jim Hagedorn (MN-01). H.R. 7758 is also supported by the National Rural Health Association.