April 23, 2020

House Passes New Democrat Coalition-Supported Emergency Relief Package

New Democrat Coalition Chair Kilmer on House Passage of Increased Assistance for Small Businesses, Hospitals, and Testing

Today, the House passed the interim relief package which includes increased funding for small businesses, hospitals, and testing. Members recognize that this bill provides immediate interim support and reflects significant improvements over the initial Senate GOP bill, including some of the Coalition’s priorities.

This interim relief package:

  • Strengthens the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $310 billion in additional funding, with $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for medium-sized banks and credit unions to ensure assistance reaches the smallest businesses.
  • Secures an additional $50 billion for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), translating into more than $350 billion in loans, and another $10 billion in EIDL grants. 
  • Expands the HHS coronavirus relief fund for health care providers by another $75 billion to provide resources and support to the institutions and workers on the frontlines.  
  • Significantly lowers the interest rate on advance payments, lengthening the repayment schedule and distributing payments from general revenues not the Hospital Insurance Fund.
  • Secures $25 billion for testing, which is the key to reopening the economy and resuming our lives. 
    • That includes more funding that goes directly to states, community health centers, and rural health clinics so that those on the frontlines keeping Americans healthy and fighting this pandemic have the resources they need.
  • Requires the administration to develop a national strategic testing policy that will focus on increasing domestic testing capacity including testing supplies.

“The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to help main street employers in our region keep folks on payroll and ensure working families have the support they need.  Today’s action is about making an investment in our small businesses and in jobs. But there’s more work to do. I’ll keep fighting to protect local jobs as we work to contain the spread of the coronavirus and rebuild our economy,” said NDC Chair Derek Kilmer. “If this is, as the President has said, a ‘war against a hidden enemy,’ then our frontline health care workers are our soldiers. America should never let our soldiers go to war without the resources and equipment they need. This bill will ensure the federal government steps up to deliver more PPE, more support for our health care providers, and increased testing capacity.  That’s vital so we can save lives and eventually take steps to re-open the economy.”

Earlier this month, NDC Leadership Members sent a letter to House Democratic Leadership and Chairs of the Standing House Committees urging them to prioritize (1) building automatic stabilizers into coronavirus assistance, (2) implementing a national recovery strategy with widespread testing, tracing, and containment, and (3) protecting health care coverage affordability. This legislative package advances the national recovery strategy priority from the letter. Last month, the NDC put forward a comprehensive package of policy recommendations and priorities for inclusion in Congress’s coronavirus response and economic recovery packages. A significant majority of the Coalition’s recommendations were included in the last package, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.