COVID-19 Update: Relief for Texans
As we continue navigating these uncertain times, it's important to remember that the small steps we are taking right now are helping to flatten the impact of the coronavirus in our communities down the road. I want to take a moment to thank all of our 25th District front line workers who are protecting our families and keeping food on our tables. From doctors and nurses working around the clock putting the well-being of their patients before themselves, to farmers and truck drivers keeping the supply chain moving day in and day out, we say thank you. It is because of your selflessness and commitment that we will make it through.
We have taken great steps in Congress to provide critical relief to all of our industries and the American people during this pandemic, but there is still work to be done.
To receive future updates on COVID-19 in the 25th District, please click here.
Money in your pocket
This week, Texans will begin receiving direct deposits from the U.S. Treasury, thanks to the CARES Act. Individuals are eligible for up to $1,200, married couples are eligible for up to $2,400, with an additional $500 for each child 17 and under. If you qualify for an Economic Impact Payment and do not receive a payment through direct deposit, you can submit your information to the IRS for processing. For eligible non-filers in 2018 and 2019, you can enter your payment information on the IRS website here.
Politics can wait. Small businesses cannot.
Small businesses are one of America’s greatest assets. Not only do they breathe life into our communities, they are the gold standard for unleashing human potential. But right now, as we are facing an unprecedented economic shutdown, they are in the fight of their lives. We've taken great steps to provide relief, but there is still much to be done.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers forgivable loans to businesses that keep their employees hired throughout the pandemic, has been active now for two weeks to provide relief for small businesses. From manufacturing companies to restaurants, these loans have helped almost every corner of our economy and to date, 4,664 lenders have given out over 1 million loans nationwide to small businesses to help them maintain their payroll.
This week, the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program will likely be exhausted and require Congress to provide additional funds. I support the President's request of adding $250 billion more to the PPP and I will continue to be an advocate for small businesses to ensure they are given the financial aid required to get through this pandemic.
Keeping rural hospitals open
Rural hospitals and Rural Health Clinics (RHC's) serve a critical function in the 25th District and as of now, many are unable to participate in the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). I called for immediate action to make rural hospitals eligible for this crucial funding so they can continue serving the needs of local residents and keep their doors open to patients. Click here to read more.
Delivering for providers
This week, 24,307 Texas health providers enrolled in Medicare will begin receiving their share of nearly $2.1 billion in payments authorized under the CARES Act. The bill provided $30 billion in direct payments to health care providers nationwide, and I was proud to work with the Trump administration to ensure Texas received nearly 10 percent of all funds to help combat COVID-19.
Relief for cattle producers
The USDA will soon determine how $9.5 billion of agriculture assistance from the CARES Act should be distributed. I recently joined over 140 of my colleagues in calling on Secretary Sonny Perdue to deliver targeted, equitable relief to cattle producers. They are vital to our nation's food security and their role in putting food on our tables is irreplaceable.
Supporting dairy farmers
I joined many of my colleagues in urging Secretary Perdue to take swift action to include dairy farmers in the $9.5 billion authorized for the agriculture industry in the CARES Act. Our local dairy producers in the 25th District are working overtime for all of us, and it's only right that we provide them with the economic relief needed to continue their important work and prevent further hardship in the industry.
I've had the opportunity to speak directly with hundreds of small business owners across the 25th District during five Tele-Town Halls addressing questions and providing more information on loans available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) during the pandemic. SBA Deputy District Director Elsie Collins even joined me for an additional webinar hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce, where we discussed congressional action to combat COVID-19 and loans available through the SBA.
For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.
I was honored to have Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt join us for my third COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall where I was able to speak with tens of thousands of you and answer questions regarding the state and federal response to the coronavirus. You can listen to our discussion by clicking on the photo above or by clicking here.
To join me on the next Tele-Town Hall to share your concerns, please click here. I look forward to hearing from you.
We're here for you
Please continue staying home unless absolutely necessary and follow the guidance of your local officials. The more aggressively we tackle this virus, the quicker Texas and our nation will open back up for business. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my team in either our Cleburne or Austin offices, or send us an email here. You can also stay up to date by following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
In God we trust,
Member of Congress