U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici issued this statement after the House passed a $484 billion aid plan, the fourth Congress has approved to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn. The bill (HR 266) heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The House vote on Thursday, April 23, was 388-5. All five Oregon representatives voted for it.
"In the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Congress acted swiftly to pass the CARES Act to provide funding for our communities, including hospitals and health care facilities, schools, states and localities, and small businesses, but the funding was notÂ at all sufficientÂ to meet the need. IÂ have been hearingÂ from small business owners across Northwest Oregon who were unable to access the federal funding, leaving themÂ to watch in frustration as the money was quickly exhausted. Today —Â as the pandemic continuesÂ to ravage communities and our economy remains largely shut down — we address their urgent concerns.
"This bill will help small businesses and family farms stay afloat, and it sets aside resources for truly small businesses and those owned by women and minorities, who have historically been left behind. Importantly, it also provides critical funding for our hospitals and health care facilities, which are operating without the resources theyÂ need andÂ are unable toÂ cover expensesÂ because they can'tÂ perform elective procedures. I'm thankful that the package also includes funding for testing capabilities, which we must vastly expand before we can safely reopen.
"The funding included in this bill is essential to help our country, but we must do much moreÂ and our work is not done.Â I am continuing to fight for robust child care support, increased funding and capabilities for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, funding forÂ workers, and regulatory relief for our credit unions to make it easier for them to lend to small businesses. I am also fighting to make sure that ourÂ state and local governments receive more funding,Â students and teachers have the resources they need, people receive additional direct payments and have access to important programs like SNAP, post offices are given support to keep operating, and that our immigrant community is included in future relief efforts. As we move forward,Â IÂ will continueÂ to work with my colleagues to pass additional legislation to help our communities and small businesses around the country."
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act includes:
• $310 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, with $60 billion dedicated for lending by community-based and small- and mid-sizedÂ lenders, including credit unions, community banks,Â and other institutions who are prepared to lend to small businesses that have traditionally been overlooked, such as minority-owned businesses,Â businesses owned byÂ women and veterans, and small businesses in rural communities.Â Â
• $60 billion to bolster the Economic Injury Disaster LoanÂ and GrantÂ programs andÂ expand the program so that farmers andÂ manyÂ agricultural enterprises are eligible.Â
• $75 billion in much-needed funding for hospitals and health care facilities.
• $25 billion to expand testing, including funding for states and localities, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the Food and Drug Administration.
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