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Coronavirus: Legislative Recap

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As we have noted in prior Alerts, Congress has passed several pieces of legislation designed to provide important relief around various aspects of the coronavirus health crisis in the past two weeks. See below for a brief recap of these bills.

1. The first bill, H.R. 6074, focused on funding for the U.S. health care system in addressing coronavirus. The bill became law on March 6, 2020.

The legislation provides $8.3 billion to support at the local, federal, and international levels responses to the growing public health crisis. Primary provisions under this bill allot funding for vaccine and treatment development and loans for affected small businesses.

2. The second bill, H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was signed into law on March 18, 2020.

This $104 billion bill guarantees free coronavirus testing, provides paid leave, and strengthens food security through additional investments in WIC, food banks, and nutrition for seniors. The bill also provides protection for children who depend on free and reduced-price meals during school and child care center closures.

3. There are plans for a third and possibly fourth bill designed to further stimulate the economy.

The Administration has outlined a $1 trillion proposal which includes:

  • Airline industry support: $50 billion
  • Small business interruption loans: $300 billion
  • Other affected industry support: $150 billion
  • Checks to individual Americans: $500 billion
    • Two separate checks, April 6 and May 18
    • Amounts to be means tested

The Senate Republicans have announced plans to put forward a proposal targeted on four areas:

  • Small businesses and their survival
  • Financial assistance to Americans
  • Airline industry support
  • Additional assistance regarding health care for individuals, providers, and suppliers

The Senate Democrats have also released a list of priorities. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has proposed a $750 billion package which is targeted at families and includes $400 billion in emergency appropriations to assist public housing, schools, seniors and children. It includes public transportation relief, a further increase in Medicaid funds, and proposals to cancel monthly student debt payments and have the government provide payments.

The situation remains fluid as efforts are made to address the issues that have arisen for both business and individuals.

The stated desire on the part of Majority Leader McConnell is to proceed quickly to the resolution around additional relief.

For more information, please contact the author or any member of Baker Donelson's Government Relations and Public Policy Group. Also, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know information page on our website.

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