U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is applauding a $484-billion bipartisan emergency deal to rescue small businesses, support hospitals, and expand testing amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The legislation passed the Senate this evening by unanimous consent and heads to the House of Representatives. 

Whitehouse released the following statement:

“This bipartisan compromise is much better than the bill Leader McConnell tried to jam through on his own earlier this month.  In addition to sending billions more in rescue funds to small businesses than Republicans initially proposed, this legislation provides $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for the testing and contact tracing we need to start reopening.  Democrats secured so much more for Rhode Island’s economy and health care system by insisting on bipartisanship.  I thank my delegation colleagues Jack Reed, Jim Langevin, and David Cicilline for standing firm to get us to this much improved position.”

A breakdown of the deal is available here or below;

Schumer, Pelosi Joint Statement On Agreement With Administration On Interim Emergency Package

April 21, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after an agreement was reached with the Administration on an interim emergency relief package:

“Congressional Democrats are proud to have secured an agreement on an interim emergency funding package that has been transformed to provide real support for the lives and livelihoods of the American people.

“Democrats flipped this emergency package from an insufficient Republican plan that left behind hospitals and health and frontline workers and did nothing to aid the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses on Main Street.  We have achieved an agreement that follows the path set by the bipartisan CARES Act by strengthening the Paycheck Protection Program, expanding small business support beyond PPP by increasing funding for emergency disaster loans and grants, and providing an additional $100 billion for hospitals, providers and testing in a way that addresses the health needs of the American people:

  • For small businesses: we have strengthened the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion in additional funding, with $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for mid-sized banks and credit unions.   We are expanding small business support beyond PPP by securing $50 billion for SBA emergency disaster lending, translating into more than $350 billion in loans, and $10 billion in SBA emergency disaster grants.  We have also secured strong protections to ensure that our nation’s farmers have access to this vital assistance.
  • For hospitals, health systems and health care and frontline workers: Democrats secured $75 billion to provide resources to the frontlines, including Personal Protective Equipment.  The Administration has also agreed to key improvements to be made in CARES 2, including significantly lowering the interest rate on advance payments, lengthening the repayment schedule and distributing payments from general revenues not the Hospital Insurance Fund.
  • For all Americans: we have secured $25 billion for testing, which is the key to reopening the economy and resuming our lives.  The Administration has agreed to a national strategic testing policy that will focus on increasing domestic testing capacity including testing supplies. 

“Democrats are disappointed that the Administration has not agreed to more funding for state, tribal, and local governments on the front lines of this crisis who desperately need an infusion of funds to pay the essential workers who keep us safe.  However, we are pleased that the President has committed to addressing this critical priority in CARES 2 and will work with urgency to see that this commitment is fulfilled.  Our lives and well-being are threatened if our health care, police, fire, EMS, transportation, teachers and other vital workers do not have the support that they need, and we will hold the Administration accountable to their promise.

“It is unfortunate that Republicans’ refusal to negotiate in a bipartisan way delayed agreement on this legislation.  Now, Congress will move swiftly to bring this legislation to the Floor and pass it this week, so that we can bring desperately-needed resources to those who are suffering.

“As soon as it has passed in the House, we will advance CARES 2, which must be transformative and far-reaching.   CARES 2 must recognize that the key to getting Americans back to work and ensuring economic security is putting the health and safety of the American people first and defeating this terrible virus. 

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.