March 27, 2020

Kaine Statement On Coronavirus Economic Relief Package Becoming Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement after President Trump signed the bipartisan coronavirus (COVID-19) economic relief package into law:

“We’ve worked in a bipartisan way to move legislation across the finish line that will put workers, families, and small businesses first, and we need to make sure it’s implemented without delay. This economic package will backstop low- and middle-income Americans who are losing earnings, support small businesses, strengthen our health care system, provide much-needed assistance to state and local governments, and ensure that aid to industries goes toward keeping workers on the payrolls, not stock buybacks. This should not be the last legislation we pass to confront the coronavirus. I will continue speaking to Virginians every day to assess what assistance families, workers, hospitals, educators, and businesses need during this difficult time, and I’m committed to doing all I can to help.”  

The following Kaine priorities were included in the package:

  • Direct payments to Americans: The legislation includes direct cash payments to all low- and middle-income Americans: $1,200 per single filer and $2,400 for joint filers, with an additional $500 per minor dependent. Kaine and his Democratic colleagues successfully called for cash relief that does not leave out America’s most vulnerable families, while the initial Republican proposal provided insufficient relief for these households.
  • Small business funding: The legislation provides nearly $350 billion in funding for forgivable small business loans. Funding will be provided through local banks, and can be used to cover payroll, rent, mortgage interest, utilities, and other expenses. The portion that is forgiven will be scaled related to how many workers the business retains through the crisis.
  • Expand access to child care: The legislation includes Senator Kaine’s proposal with Senator Todd Young to increase funding, flexibility, and eligibility for the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to help ensure health care providers and other essential workers have access to child care during the pandemic.
  • State and local coronavirus relief fund: The legislation includes a $150 billion fund to support state, local, and tribal area efforts to address COVID-19. Funding will be provided directly to states, counties, and tribal areas.
  • Historic investment in the health care system: Democrats fought for and secured a $150 billion Marshall Plan for the health care system to support hospitals and other health care providers impacted by COVID-19 with necessary personal protective equipment, testing supplies, infrastructure, and more.
  • Guardrails for large business assistance: Democrats were able to secure additional guardrails on loans made to larger businesses, including restrictions on stock buybacks and protections that will lead to more workers being maintained on the payroll. Additionally, funding provided under this section will be subject to strict transparency and accountability requirements, including the establishment of a new Inspector General to oversee distribution, usage, and repayment of funds.
  • Data modernization: The legislation includes $500 million for public health data modernization, which Sen. Kaine has long championed. Last year, he introduced with Senators Isakson and King the Saving Lives Through Better Data Act, bipartisan legislation to modernize public health data infrastructure so clinicians, state health departments, and the CDC can work together more quickly and seamlessly to identify and respond to health threats like the coronavirus.
  • Help for American manufacturers: The legislation includes key provisions of bipartisan legislation Kaine introduced with Senator Chris Coons to help Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers, including the Commonwealth’s MEP affiliate Virginia GENEDGE, stay open during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. MEP centers provide critical resources for small and medium manufacturers.
  • Expand unemployment assistance: The legislation includes key provisions of legislation Kaine cosponsored to provide federally-funded unemployment assistance to those affected by the coronavirus. Under the agreement, unemployment insurance would be provided to workers impacted by the coronavirus, including gig workers and freelancers.  
  • Moratorium on evictions and foreclosures: The legislation implements temporary moratoriums on eviction and foreclosure proceedings. Single- and multi-family property owners in mortgages backed by federal agencies will be given the option for forbearance – allowing them to defer payments and add onto the end of the loan. Renters in buildings backed by federal funding will be protected against evictions for 120 days. Last week, Senator Kaine urged Senate leaders to place a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and defaults for families and businesses during this national emergency.
  • Support for schools: The legislation provides $30.75 billion for grants to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions to continue to provide educational services to their students and support the on-going functionality of school districts and institutions. Last week, Kaine joined Senator Casey in urging Senator leaders to address concerns he has heard from Virginia institutions of higher education like providing stable housing and issues accessing technology needed for online learning.
  • Strengthen America’s supply chain: The legislation includes elements of the Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act, bipartisan legislation Kaine introduced with Senator Rubio to combat vulnerabilities in America’s pharmaceutical supply chain.  
  • Increase nonprofit funding for maternal health: The legislation includes Kaine’s bill to smooth pension funding for March of Dimes, based in Arlington, Virginia, allowing the organization to boost its public health work at this critical time.
  • Increase funding for community action agencies: The legislation includes $1 billion for Community Service Block Grants (CSBG) to support local community-based organizations providing social services and emergency assistance to those most in need. Last week, Kaine joined Senator Collins in calling for appropriators to include robust funding for CSBG to help address on-the-ground challenges that communities are facing.   

 

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