Rep. Austin Scott Statement on Coronavirus Stimulus Package
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) released the below statement upon the House of Representatives today passing the CARES Act (H.R. 748), which was amended by the U.S. Senate earlier this week:
“The House just passed a coronavirus stimulus package, and it is now on its way to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. While this certainly isn’t a perfect bill and there are many things I would have liked to have seen changed, this package will provide critical resources to health care facilities, businesses, and American families during this public health emergency,” said Rep. Austin Scott. “My offices will continue to work with state and local officials to ensure our state has the resources we need. America is the greatest country in the world and the best prepared to handle a crisis like this, and we will get through this by working together.”
Key components of the legislation include the following:
Agriculture: $9.5B to the Agriculture Secretary to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus by providing support for agricultural producers including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools, and livestock producers, including dairy producers.”
Businesses: The bill establishes a fully refundable tax credit for businesses of all size that are closed or distressed to help them keep workers on the payroll. The goal is to get those employees hired back or put on paid furlough to make sure they have jobs to return. The credit covers up to 50 percent of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee. For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, the credit is for wages paid to employees when they are not providing services because of the coronavirus. Eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees could use the deduction even if they aren't closed.
Food Assistance: $15.81B for Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) contingency fund, $8.8 billion to give schools more flexibility to provide meals for students, and $450M for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
Hospitals and Community Health Centers: $100 billion for hospitals responding to the coronavirus and $1.32 billion in immediate additional funding for community centers that provide health care services.
Individual Recovery Rebates: All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for a $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child. This is true even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits. For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return, if filed, or in the alternative their 2018 return. This includes many low-income individuals who file a tax return in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children
Insurance Coverage: The bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine and makes all coronavirus tests free.
Medical Equipment: $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to increase availability of equipment, including ventilators and masks.
Rural Businesses: $20.5M to the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program to provide guarantees to loans made by private lenders to rural businesses, similar to SBA loans for rural communities.
Small Businesses: $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs and $350 billion for the SBA to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Temporary Student Loan Relief: All loan and interest payments would be deferred through Sept. 30 without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans.
Vaccines and tests: $11 billion for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines and $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prioritize and expedite approval of new drugs.