Legislative Efforts to Address Coronavirus

Congress is approaching this crisis from multiple angles. On the public health front, we have been working to ensure that the federal response is effectively stopping the spread and providing care for those in need, while also working to blunt the economic impact this will have on every American. 

We expect this three-phase approach to help dramatically in the nation’s initial response to the pandemic and will look to build on it to ensure that our medical personnel, first responders and supply chain have all the resources needed to get through this crisis and that Americans have jobs to return to once a sense of normalcy is restored. My colleagues and I stand ready to take further action necessary to get our nation through these difficult times.

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 [PL: 116-123]

  • A comprehensive $7.7 billion package to dramatically increase efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, treat Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 and support research to find a vaccine. This bipartisan, bicameral emergency supplemental appropriations package provides a surge in funding at every level – local, state, federal and international – to meet the growing challenge we face.
    • Nearly 85 percent of this funding will be spent here in the U.S., with a large portion going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which in turn will be directed to states and localities in the form of public health preparedness grants. 
    • The CDC has awarded $560 million in initial funding to states, localities and territories from this pot of money—including $6.2 million to Arkansas to support the state’s COVID-19 response.
    • Appropriated money for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to train health care workers on the front lines and to develop and approve diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines related to the virus. 

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act [PL: 116-127]

  • Delivers necessary resources to combat the coronavirus and support hardworking Americans and families who are facing financial challenges due to this outbreak. 
    • Funds paid emergency leave for workers.
    • Makes testing widely available at no additional cost to patients.
    • Enhances food security initiatives. 

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The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act [PL: 116-136]

  • Helps individual Americans negatively affected by this crisis get by and stave off a massive economic disaster.
    • Increases our investment in hospitals and healthcare providers—the men and women on the front lines of this fight.
    • Sends checks to millions of American households to offset the financial impact of the crisis and allow for a much-needed injection of liquidity into our economy.
    • Expands unemployment insurance while stabilizing industries to prevent mass layoffs. 
    • Other steps, such as delaying federal student loans payments for six months, will be taken to help affected individuals.
    • Dramatic relief will be provided to the lifeblood of our economy—our small businesses—which have taken a massive financial hit. Loans will be delivered to small businesses to help continue operations, and if those funds are used for payroll and other vital necessities to maintain services, they will be forgiven.

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Along with the three-phase approach, Congress has taken additional measures to address specific government programs affected by the crisis: