Friends,

President Trump has now signed two emergency bills into law that will expand resources available to Wyoming communities for medical care and economic relief. With my colleagues in the House and Senate and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, we are developing a third economic relief package that will provide additional support for Americans who are suffering. I’ve included more details below about how these bills will help support Wyoming families. 

Make sure you visit cheney.house.gov/coronavirus for daily updates on resources and guidelines from the White House COVID-19 Task Force that will help to slow the spread of this virus and keep you and your family healthy.

Here’s The Latest:

This morning, I joined Glenn Woods on KGAB to discuss the steps we are taking in Congress to support Wyoming families as we continue to fight the spread of coronavirus. Click here to listen to my conversation on KGAB.

At today’s briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to eliminate barriers to getting therapeutics for coronavirus to patients. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn discussed the effort to eliminate “outdated” regulations for anti-viral therapies, which potentially opens the door for the use of hydroxychloroquine and other drugs as coronavirus treatments.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation adopted by the House earlier this week, and then President Trump signed the bill into law. This legislation, known as the Phase II Package, expands testing for all Americans, provides paid sick leave for workers impacted by the coronavirus, and gives small businesses the flexibility they need to to care for their employees and remain open. The Senate is working with the U.S. Treasury Department on a Phase III Package to help further support American workers and businesses as we combat the impact of coronavirus on our economy.

Copied below is a summary of the action taken by Congress to support American families and slow the spread of coronavirus:

Phase I Package (H.R. 6047, Singed Into Law):

Testing and Supplies:
What has Congress done?

  • H.R. 6047— the first coronavirus bill— included more than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available; to support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus; and to invest in vaccine development and to procure vaccines when they are available.

Small Businesses:
I’m worried my small business will have to close due to financial issues. Will there be more assistance?

  • Secretary Mnuchin has made clear immediate assistance is on the way. Moreover, H.R. 6047 allowed $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations which have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. This funding could enable the Small Business Administration to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities. In addition, provides $20 million to administer these loans.

Phase II Package (H.R. 6201, Signed Into Law):

Mandatory Employer Paid Sick and Family and Medical Leave:
How do employees find out if they can receive sick leave?

  • H.R. 6201— the second coronavirus bill requires employers to provide notice of eligibility to employees. The Department of Labor is required to create model notification within 7 days after enactment of the bill.

Unemployment Insurance:
How does the H.R. 6201 support states that are experiencing a spike in claim for unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 layoffs and business closings?

  • The bill immediately provides $500 million in emergency administrative grants to increase state capacity to process unemployment applications and make payments. It also makes an additional $500 million available to states that experience a 10% percent increase in unemployment to provide 100% federally funded benefits to provide extra weeks of benefits.

The Vulnerable School-Aged and Elderly Population:
Where can children and seniors get meals?

  • H.R. 6201 provides half a billion dollars for WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) to help low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to the coronavirus emergency. It also included as waivers to allow child and adult care centers to allow those eligible to take their food to go.

How can seniors get meals delivered?

  • H.R. 6201 provides $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to provide approximately 25 million additional home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors who depend on the Senior Nutrition programs in their communities. This funding will provide meals to low-income seniors:
  • who are home-bound;
  • who have disabilities;
  • who have multiple chronic illnesses;
  • as well as caregivers for seniors who are home-bound.

Testing and Supplies:
What has Congress done?

  • H.R. 6201 requires free access to coronavirus testing, ensuring there are no cost barriers to these tests. It also included $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of testing, including $142 million to directly help our service members and veterans.

Small Businesses:
My small business can’t afford to pay sick leave.

  • H.R. 6201 includes a refundable payroll tax credit to reimburse—dollar-for-dollar—local businesses for paid sick leave and family and medical leave wages paid to employees that are affected by COVID-19. Click here for an explanation of who is eligible and for what amounts.

The leave is fully funded by the tax credit, but my small business will be interrupted by cash flow issues.

  • H.R. 6201 provides significant relief to businesses that otherwise may not be able to afford the employee costs associated with coronavirus-related paid leave.  Treasury has broad regulatory authority to advance funds to employers to protect businesses concerned about cash flow.  In a March 14th press release, Treasury stated that “employers will be able to use cash deposited with the IRS to pay sick leave wages.  Additionally, for businesses that would not have sufficient taxes to draw from, Treasury will use its regulatory authority to make advances to small businesses to cover such costs.”

Phase III Package (In Progress):

The federal government has acted swiftly to help Americans impacted by the coronavirus. The first package, which has been signed into law, contained $8.3 billion to increase the availability of tests, support public and private efforts toward developing a vaccine, and assistance for small businesses. The second package, passed in the House and now being considered in the Senate, ensured free testing, emergency paid leave, and support and flexibility for small businesses.

This phase three package is further assistance for our economy. The Administration is seeking secured funds for industries that are taking a substantial hit due to this pandemic, such as airlines. They also want to provide cash assistance to all Americans, with the amount being dependent on income level and family size. And they want to create a loan program for small businesses who are offering paid leave to their workers at this time.

Wyoming Counties Eligible for SBA Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated the following Wyoming counties as “economic disaster” regions eligible for small business disaster loan assistance:

  • Albany County
  • Carbon County
  • Laramie County
  • Park County
  • Sweetwater County 
  • Teton County
  • Unita County

If you are a small business owner in one of these counties and have been negatively impacted by coronavirus, the SBA’s Federal Disaster Loan program can provide you with loans to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue you might be experiencing.

To apply for a SBA Federal Disaster Loan, click on the following link: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Login

SBA has provided the following information with more details about the Federal Disaster Loan program:

Please follow this newsletter and the coronavirus page on my website for continued updates about COVID-19 and how government is responding to protect both the country’s health and our economic security. 

Congresswoman Liz Cheney