March 27, 2020
A dawn is coming when this Coronavirus will notoccupy our every waking thought. Today, by passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,Congress took steps to help preserve the American economy for after this pandemic is over.
The CARES Actwillprovide immediate relief to American industries, small businesses, and individuals while ensuring our health care providers have the resources they need to deal with COVID-19.
Before voting for this vital legislation, Ispoke onthe House floor about the true heroes -the nurses, doctors, and all those working to stop this invisible enemy.
Here is a list of the bill's highlights:
- Provides $1,200 tax rebates to individuals making under $75,000 and $2,400 for married couples making under $150,000.
- Establishes a Paycheck Protection loan program within the Small Business Administration to complement Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
- Expands unemployment insurance (UI) assistance to $600 and 13 weeks beyond a state’s level and eases eligibility requirements for UI and nutrition programs.
- Creates a corporate liquidity funding facility through the Federal Reserve to provide $500 billion in loans to distressed sectors of the economy.
- Provides $150 billion for states, tribes, and units of local government.
- Includes $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers and $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment and supplies.
President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines for America. “Even if you are young and otherwise healthy, you are at risk- and your activities can increase the risk of contracting the Coronavirus for others. Everyone can do their part,” said President Trump. It is important that states and local communities step up and do their part in this outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have new resources for evaluating and treating those at the highest risk. The CDC released information for health care professionals about prioritizing testing for patients suspected of having this Coronavirus infection.
Innovation is on the horizon as 3D printing of medical devices is being developed to mitigate the supply chain challenges during this time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released FAQs for those utilizing 3D printing to manufacture medical devices and personal protective equipment.
The FDA took action to increase the supply of ventilators and respirators. Today, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization to allow the use of certain ventilators, positive pressure breathing devices, and other respiratory devices to be modified for use as ventilators in this Coronavirus response.
The Texas Hospital Association received approval of its Medicaid 1135 waiver. This waiver approved by the Centersfor Medicare & Medicaid Serviceswillgive flexibility tohospitals and other providers in Texas to provide the best care for their patients. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has also submitteda 1135 waiver request.
Texas orders a 14-day quarantine for certain air travelers. Those traveling by air from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the New Orleans area will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Texas. Governor Abbott issued this executive order yesterday.
Tune In This Sunday:
A special tribute to front line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes during this global pandemic. Elton John is hosting a Living Room Concert for America, on Sunday, March 29th, at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Other performers include Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more. Viewers are encouraged to donate to Feeding American and First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Until next time, this is your doctor's note.
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.