Congressman David Joyce : Federal Response to COVID-19

Federal Response to COVID-19

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Since the U.S. declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020, the federal government has taken many steps to ensure the health, safety and economic security of the American people. These actions include but are not limited to:

  • implementing quarantine efforts
  • ordering unprecedented action on travel
  • passing and signing into law H.R 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
  • declaring a national emergency
  • passing and signing into law H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Act
  • passing and signing into law S. 3548, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act;
  • providing $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts;
  • incentivizing the development of vaccines to treat and prevent the spread of the virus
  • directing the Small Business Administration to provide loans to businesses affected
  • directing the Internal Revenue Service to administer tax credits to help small businesses impacted
  • directing the Department of the Treasury to defer tax payments for certain individuals and businesses impacted
  • waiving interest on student loans
  • providing emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families
  • developing and distributing a test for the disease
  • equipping state and local public health partners with testing capacity

With the situation surrounding coronavirus rapidly evolving and so much information out there, I want to make sure you know what work is being done in Washington on your behalf. Below, I’ve laid out a timeline of the actions taken at the federal level to help Americans across the country confront the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 5, 2020

I joined 414 of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting H.R 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This bill provides $7.8 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to strengthen our nation’s response to COVID-19. Specifically, it ensures our health professionals and local communities are fully equipped to combat the spread of this disease by providing nearly $1 billion to the CDC exclusively for state and local response efforts. I’m pleased to report that over $560 million of those funds have been distributed to state and local health departments across the country, including over $15.6 million to support response efforts in the Buckeye State.

The legislation also provides more than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available, invest in vaccine development, procure vaccines when they are available, and support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus. Funding is also made available for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the integrity of medical products manufactured overseas as well as to identify and prevent potential shortages of these products. 

March 13, 2020

The President declared a national emergency under provisions of the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, which will help deliver meaningful relief for state and local governments to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This announcement also included the elimination of certain burdensome laws and regulations to give doctors and hospitals increased flexibility so that they can provide quality care for COVID-19 patients. The emergency declaration and its accompanying executive actions include:

  • an additional $42 billion in funding for states to combat COVID-19
  • authorizing the Small Business Administration to make available $7 billion in loans to qualifying small businesses that have been affected
  • waiving interest on all student loans held by the federal government
  • issuing guidance to limit medically unnecessary visits to nursing homes to protect vulnerable, elderly Americans
  • an unprecedented collaboration with the private sector to open up drive-through testing collection sites in critical areas impacted by the coronavirus
  • issuingemergency FDA authorization for new commercial COVID-19tests that will help significantly expand testing across the country
  • HHS providing funding to help accelerate the development of two rapid diagnostic tests
  • appointing the Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir to lead the coordination of testing efforts to ensure seamless access for patients, doctors, and hospitals
  • waiving licensing requirements so doctors from other states can provide services in areas with the greatest need
  • eliminating Critical Access Hospital requirements to allow those hospitals to have more beds and longer lengths of stay
  • eliminating rules that hinder the ability of hospitalsto bring additional physicians on board or obtain needed office space

March 14, 2020

I voted for, and the House passed, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Act. This legislation, which was signed into law on March 18, contains an additional $2.5 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to provide immediate, targeted relief for those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, the bill includes:

  • $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of coronavirus testing, including $142 million to eliminate copay requirements for servicemembers and veterans
  • $1.25 billion to provide emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families
  • $15 million for the Internal Revenue Service to administer tax credits to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak

March 27, 2020

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with my support, and later that day it was signed into law by the President. This important legislation provided funding and relief for many individuals and industries, including $100 billion for hospitals and health systems to help them obtain the resources needed to meet the many serious challenges that lie ahead. In summary, the CARES Act provides $2 trillion in emergency relief to workers, families, small businesses, and distressed industries by:

  • providing a direct payment of $1,200 per individual, $2,400 per couple, and $500 per eligible child;
  • making emergency loans and resources available for small businesses by creating the Paycheck Protection Program;
  • providing $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts;
  • expanding unemployment insurance for four months;
  • providing $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program to assist food banks across the country;
  • stabilizing key national industries that will help workers;
  • providing $272 billion directly to state and local governments, supporting their frontline efforts to respond to the virus; and
  • making investments in new medicines, therapeutics, and vaccines

April 23, 2020

Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act with my support. The critical legislation helps the SBA continue to provide much-needed, critical relief to small businesses by:

  • Increasing the appropriation level for the PPP from $349 billion to $670.335 billion.
  • Setting aside the following amounts for the PPP to be made by the following institutions:
  • $30 billion for loans made by Insured Depository Institutions and Credit Unions that have assets between $10 billion and $50 billion; and
  • $30 billion for loansmade by Community Financial Institutions, Small Insured Depository Institutions, and Credit Unions with assets less than $10 billion.
  • Appropriating an additional $50 billion for the Disaster Loans Program Account.
  • Appropriating an additional $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants.
  • Allowing agricultural enterprises as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)) with not more than 500 employees to receive EIDL grants and loans.

Currently

Passing the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act was the next step to helping alleviate the economic devastation that this virus has caused. Congress is continuing to monitor the crisis and asses the next steps that must be taken to ensure the American people are supported during these unprecedented times. I know full-well that Ohio families and businesses have been hit hard by this public health crisis and assure you that I remain committed to ensuring the federal government continues responds aggressively and provides aid to those who need it as this fourth relief package continues to go into effect.

Previously

It is important to note that Congress has taken numerous actions over the past several years to ensure our health care professionals have the tools and resources they need to respond to outbreaks like this. That includes passing S. 1379, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act. This bill, which was signed into law on June 24, 2019, helped ensure our health care professionals are trained to respond to possible pandemic outbreaks, prioritized the further development of our national stockpile of vaccines, medical equipment and diagnostics, and established new advisory groups focused on protecting vulnerable populations such as senior citizens and people with disabilities during public health threats and emergencies.