Interim Coronavirus Response Bill Helpful, But More Help Still Needed
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) traveled back to the nation’s capital today—joining an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of her House colleagues—to vote for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, H.R. 266. The bill provides $484 billion in additional funding to help more Americans affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Following passage, Beatty said:
“Since the very beginning of this public health crisis, I have repeatedly called for expanded COVID-19 testing and to get funding into the hands of more small and minority-owned business owners, including 1099 workers at hair and nail salons, barber shops, and from gig to gig, just like larger organizations. This bill makes progress on both these fronts. However, Congress’ work is nowhere near finished, and we will undoubtedly need to pass additional legislation to stabilize our economy and address the immediate financial, professional, and personal needs of all our constituents.”
Prior to the vote, Beatty was among a select group of lawmakers tapped to address the nation on the bill. “Democrats fought hard for funding small and minority-owned businesses as well as minority depository institutions,” Beatty highlighted on the House floor. “While this was a victory, granting funding to lending institutions alone is not enough.” She added, “I would have liked more funding for small businesses and for cities and states, but we know our task is far from over, and I will work with my colleagues to address these issues in the coming weeks.” Beatty’s full remarks are available on YouTube.
Since the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136, became law, Beatty and her staff have focused on pushing and crafting proposals and legislative language to be included in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Most notably, her office was among the first to demand that congressional leadership include federal funding for COVID-19 testing at community health centers (later included in H.R. 266) and to increase the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospital and healthcare workers. Moreover, as the Chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, Beatty took a lead role in helping to draft the proposal allocating tens of billions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for community development financial institutions and other non-traditional lenders like non-federally-insured credit unions that have historically served communities of color as well as rural and urban areas.
H.R. 266 funding highlights include:
- $310 billion for PPP, including $60 billion for smaller financial institutions
- $60 billion for Small Business Administration disaster emergency loans and grants
- $75 billion for hospital relief
- $25 billion for expanded COVID-19 testing, including $825 million for community health centers
As a result of Republican pushback, there are several outstanding issues that Congress must address to help Americans going forward:
- Assistance to communities and municipalities facing ballooning budget shortfalls
- Dedicated funding for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, independent contractors, and the self-employed
- Hazard pay for workers deemed essential
- Reform and enhance Medicaid’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage
Previously passed by the U.S Senate on April 21st, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act is expected to be signed into law immediately.
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