Blunt Statement on Senate Passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act

March 26, 2020

“The coronavirus pandemic poses the greatest threat to Americans that we have seen in decades … we have to speed relief to everyone who needs it”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) released the following statement after voting to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act. The measure, which passed the Senate unanimously, must now be passed by the House before reaching the president’s desk.

“The coronavirus pandemic poses the greatest threat to Americans that we have seen in decades,” said Blunt. “People are scared for their health and the health of their loved ones. Businesses large and small are struggling to stay afloat. Workers are worried about losing their jobs and not being able to make ends meet. Healthcare providers and first responders are putting their lives on the line every day to take care of people in their communities. We have to speed relief to everyone who needs it and the CARES Act the Senate just passed does that.

“Over the past month, Congress came together to quickly pass immediate emergency funding for health-related response efforts. We followed that by passing a second package that addressed paid sick leave for individuals and family caregivers, enhanced unemployment insurance and food assistance, and increased healthcare funding for states. The CARES Act builds on those efforts by providing direct financial assistance to individuals and families, helping small businesses maintain their payrolls, stabilizing major sectors of our economy, and, most importantly, making sure healthcare providers have what they need to fight this pandemic. The House must now act to get this phase three package to President Trump as soon as possible.”

The CARES Act:

Provides direct assistance to individuals and families that need it most. Under the bill, a typical middle-class family of four would get $3,400 to help them meet their daily expenses;

Includes emergency funds for food and nutrition programs so families can continue to get that help if they need it;

Provides immediate assistance to child care providers to prevent them from going out of business and supports child care for families, including for healthcare workers, first responders, and others playing critical roles during this crisis;

Provides cash-flow assistance to small businesses through federally-guaranteed loans, with certain expenses eligible for forgiveness if employers maintain their payrolls through this emergency;

Creates a temporary pandemic unemployment assistance program to give assistance to workers who aren’t normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as the self-employed or independent contractors;

Ensures that testing and the eventual vaccine for coronavirus patients will be covered by private insurance;

Includes $100 billion in support for hospitals and health care providers, and provides flexibility for them to receive both prospective payments and reimbursement for costs associated with coronavirus, including lost revenues;

Gives health care providers more capabilities to offer telehealth services;

Provides an additional $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts;

Allows the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, enables students who were forced to drop out of school due to coronavirus to keep their Pell Grants, and gives colleges and universities the flexibility to continue work-study payments to students who cannot work due to coronavirus closures;

Provides funding for elementary and secondary schools that can be released quickly to states to help schools respond to coronavirus and related school closures, including immediate needs of students and teachers, improving use of education technology, supporting distance education, and making up for lost learning time; and

Stabilizes major sectors of the economy without putting taxpayers on the hook for giant bailouts.