Thursday, April 23, 2020

Lucas, Hern comment on passage of Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act


Hern votes ‘yes’ on bill to replenish funds for small business loans

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The bill passed with a vote of 388-5.

“The Paycheck Protection Program is the lifeline our workers and business owners need right now,” said. Rep. Hern. “Our small business owners are some of the hardest hit during this pandemic. As a small business owner myself, I feel the same pain of the business leaders I’ve spoken with over the last several weeks. They’ve poured their life’s work into these businesses and are watching it all fall apart. They love their employees and are distraught over decisions to lay off or furlough staff.”

Rep. Hern continued, “Speaker Pelosi delayed these funds for two weeks while workers across the country were missing paychecks. There’s no reason we had to wait this long. Speaker Pelosi made it absolutely clear to the workers and business owners of our country what her priorities are: partisan tricks and unpopular, socialist policies at any cost. Small businesses are not pawns in Speaker Pelosi’s games, they are real people with real employees. In the strongest possible terms, I condemn the actions of the Speaker and Democrat Majority.”


Lucas Supports Paycheck Protection Program & Hospital Relief Package

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 266- the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act, providing additional funding to support the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and Oklahoma hospitals.

“More than a week after Oklahoma’s small businesses and workers saw the Paycheck Protection Program run dry, Congress has passed the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act- providing dire relief for Main Street businesses, their workers, and America’s hospitals,” said Congressman Lucas.

Lucas continued, “There’s no doubt about it, our small businesses are the lifeline of our local economies. In the nearly two weeks the Paycheck Protection Program was open more than 35,000 small businesses in Oklahoma received more than $4.6 billion. Because of these funds, many of our community’s family-owned businesses will be able to keep their workforce employed.

Thanks to the legislation passed today, more of Oklahoma’s small businesses will be able to stay afloat and keep their employees on payroll, providing families across Oklahoma the certainty they need in order to get through these uncertain times. The relief package also guarantees the eligibility of agricultural businesses for relief programs provided by the Small Business Administration.

As the coronavirus launched an unprecedented attack on America’s economy and health care system, Oklahomans across our great state have stepped up to fight on the front lines. Our state’s medical professionals, agriculture producers, truck drivers, grocers, and bankers have all worked to ensure that no one faces this virus alone. I thank all of these workers, especially our health care workers, as they all have become everyday heroes in our time of need. The health care funding provided in the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act will further support our efforts to combat the virus and ease the burden of our most distressed hospitals.

As I have told Oklahomans across the District, we will weather this storm together. We are all in this together.”

The Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act increases funding authorized by the CARES Act, providing $484 billion to small business relief programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and to support for hospitals to expand testing and provide aid in response efforts.

Lucas has led or joined several letters to clarify guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program and other financial assistance programs, including urging that publicly hospitals are covered and ensuring agriculture producers are eligible for such programs.

Background:
The Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act provides funding to the U.S. Small Business Administration, including:

  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, allowing the Trump Administration to continue providing forgivable loans to cover the cost of payroll and operating expenses for small businesses.
    • $30 billion in guaranteed loans for lenders with less than $10 billion in assets
    • $30 billion in guaranteed loans for lenders with $10 million to $50 billion in assets.
  • $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and grants, including:
    • $50 billion for EIDLs- each loan can be up to $2 million with interest rates not to exceed 4% and long-term repayment periods of up to 30 years; and
    • $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 that do not have to be repaid.

The Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act  provides funding to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, including:

  • $75 billion for reimbursement to hospitals and healthcare providers to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue.
  • $25 billion for necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests, specifically:
    • $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and tribes to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, scale-up laboratory capacity, trace contacts, and support employer testing. Funds are also made available to employers for testing. 
    • $1 billion provided to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity expansion, contact tracing, public health data surveillance, and analytics infrastructure modernization.
    • $1.8 billion provided to the National Institutes of Health to develop, validate, improve, and implement testing and associated technologies; to accelerate research, development, and implementation of point-of-care and other rapid testing; and for partnerships with governmental and non-governmental entities to research, develop, and implement the activities.
    • $1 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of diagnostic, serologic, or other COVID-19 tests or related supplies.
    • $22 million for the Food and Drug Administration to support activities associated with diagnostic, serological, antigen, and other tests, and related administrative activities.
    • $825 million for Community Health Centers and rural health clinics.
    • Up to $1 billion may be used to cover the costs of testing for the uninsured.
  • Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has released guidance on how states can use CARES Act funds. This information can be found here.
  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has also announced guidance on how it plans to release more of the CARES Act funds. This information can be found here.

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