Latest COVID Bill Replenishes Paycheck Protection Program

Latest COVID Bill Replenishes Paycheck Protection Program

This week, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This new law provides overdue additional funding to programs that are a vital life line for businesses and health care providers, while also aiding efforts to improve access to COVID-19 testing which will allow us to reopen our economy.

According to the Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped more than 18,700 businesses in Oregon keep their employees on the payroll with over $3.8 billion in forgivable loans. Last week, the initial $350 billion provided to this program ran dry. Businesses and their employees were left in limbo as Democrat leaders in the House and Senate needlessly delayed quick replenishment of the funds. I’m glad that, finally, this week we were able to provide an additional $310 billion to this program, ensuring additional businesses can work with their lenders to access these funds.

The law passed this week also provides $50 billion in additional funding to the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and an additional $10 billion for a grant advance up to $10,000 for businesses who have suffered lost revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These loans issued directly by SBA provide an additional source of working capital for businesses working to stay afloat during these difficult economic times. Importantly, changes were made to the EIDL program to clarify that agriculture businesses with under 500 employees are eligible to apply for these loans.

To address the COVID-19 health crisis, the new law provides additional funding for hospitals and expands testing capacity. The bill provides an additional $75 billion to hospitals and health care providers for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue due to COVID-19. I have heard how rural hospitals across our district have struggled under Governor Brown’s order ending elective surgeries through the middle of June. These hospitals are critical to providing care in our rural communities and this additional funding will help ensure they can continue playing that role into the future.

There is also specific funding provided for testing. As a member of the White House Economic Task Force, dedicated to advising the Administration on reopening the economy, I understand the importance of conducting more tests in the United States. We need more tests in order to safely reopen the economy. The bill provides $25 billion for testing and specifically provides:

  • $11 billion for states, local authorities, and tribes to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, scale-up lab testing, contact trace, and support employer testing
    • Of this funding, $2 billion is provided to States consistent with formulas set out in the CARES Act so that every state receives funding; $4.25 billion is provided to areas based on the relative numbers of COVID-19 cases, and $750 million to tribes and tribal organizations
  • $1 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for improved surveillance efforts
  • $1.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop, improve, and implement testing; and accelerate research of rapid tests
  • $1 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for advanced research, development, production, and purchase of COVID-19 tests or related supplies
  • $825 million for Community Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics
  • Up to $1 billion may be used to cover costs of testing for the uninsured

I will continue to update you on this legislation and the coronavirus as more information becomes available. It is an honor to serve you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District

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