House passes COVID-19 emergency relief package

(© W. Scott McGill –

The House voted today to pass the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 emergency relief package that had been passed by the Senate on Wednesday, sending the legislation to President Trump for his signature.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes direct payments to working families, expanded unemployment insurance, and federal aid to small businesses.

“We are in a moment of genuine national crisis. Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard heartbreaking stories from our neighbors who are losing their livelihoods, watching their cash flows plummet, and wondering how they’ll afford to put food on the table for their families. This vote is a vote for their future,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said after the vote.

“The CARES Act will provide critical relief to families and small businesses throughout Coastal Virginia and is an important step to ensuring economic security during this public health emergency,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. “While this bill was not perfect and there is much more work to be done, I remain committed to working with the Administration and Congressional leadership to deliver for Coastal Virginians during this uncertain time.”

Highlights from the CARES Act

  • Stability for Virginia: The Commonwealth of Virginia will receive approximately $3.31 billion from the federal government to help address the immense cost of managing the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will allow the Commonwealth to continue procuring medical supplies and continue serving Virginians.
  • Funding for Hospitals and Health Care Providers: $100 billion to ensure health care providers receive the support they need for COVID-19 related expenses, $16 billion for the PHSSEF Strategic National Stockpile to acquire personal protective equipment and medical supplies for federal and state response efforts, $1.3 billion for community health centers and health clinics, and $150 million in grants toward rural hospitals to bolster their capacities. These levels of funding will help health care workers and their patients stay safe, ensure that hospitals have the capacity to withstand a drastic increase in patients, and give hospitals the resources they need to treat patients.
  • Direct Cash Payments to Americans: Americans making less than $75,000 per year will receive direct cash assistance of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. These payments will provide immediate and direct relief to American families trying to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Enhanced Paid Sick & Family Leave: This bill will expand the paid sick and family leave benefit established in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide a payroll tax credit to reimburse employers of up to 500 full-time employees for that leave. It would also require public sector service employers, regardless of size, to provide emergency paid sick leave.
  • Assistance to Small Businesses: The Small Business Administration will receive $10 billion to distribute to small businesses in direct grant funding and almost $350 billion for low-interest loans. These grants and loans will help small businesses stay afloat during this crisis.
  • Support for VA Health Care Workers & Veterans: The recently passed bill includes $19.7 billion in funding to support increased demand for community care, for essential medical supplies to ensure our veterans receive the highest quality of care.

Story by Chris Graham

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