We are faced with an unprecedented public health and economic crisis with the spread of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and across the United States. Just hours ago, the House passed the CARES Act, a robust coronavirus stimulus bill that was passed in the Senate late Wednesday evening. This legislation, which now heads to the President’s desk for his signature, provides much-needed support for our health care system and our economy.
See me speak on the House floor in support of the CARES Act here.
Supporting Our Health Care System
Our health care workers are on the frontlines of this crisis, and the CARES Act provides over $140 billion to support the U.S. health system, $100 billion of which will be injected directly into hospitals. The rest will be dedicated to providing personal protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, accelerated Medicare payments, and supporting the CDC, among other health investments. All testing and potential vaccines for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to patients.
Direct Payments to Support Americans
The CARES Act will also send Americans tax-free checks to assist them through this difficult time. People who earned less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income in 2019 will receive $1,200. For those who file jointly with a spouse and earned less than $150,000 in 2019, they will receive $2,400. For every child 17 and under that a person claims, they will be eligible for an additional $500. Individuals with reported earnings above $75,000 and couples with reported earnings above $150,000 will receive smaller rebates In addition, seniors who are on social security, filed a 2019 tax return, and meet the income eligibility requirements will qualify for a payment.
The IRS will be working as quickly as possible to deliver these rebates to Americans. For more information on direct payments and the stimulus bill, click here.
Helping Small Businesses Through This Crisis
Thanks to the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing small businesses, not-for-profits, cooperative and employee owned businesses, and the self-employed with up to $10 million at a maximum 4% interest rate. The bill also creates a “Paycheck Protection Program” to keep small businesses afloat and help prevent workers from losing their jobs. Under this program, businesses that maintain their payrolls will be forgiven for loans used to cover 8 weeks of eligible expenses such as employee salaries, healthcare benefits, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. Forgiven loans will not be subject to federal tax. For more information on small business loans, click here or visit the Small Business Administration’s website.
The bill also creates a “Paycheck Protection Program” to keep small businesses and not-for-profits afloat and help prevent workers from losing their jobs. Under this program, businesses that maintain their payrolls will be forgiven loans used to cover 8 weeks of eligible expenses such as employee salaries, healthcare benefits, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. Forgiven loans will not be subject to federal tax.
For more information on small business loans, click here or visit the Small Business Administration’s website.
Filing for Unemployment
An estimated $250 billion will be provided through the CARES Act to expand unemployment insurance benefits. All workers who are experiencing joblessness due to COVID-19 will receive an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits. This benefit applies retroactively to January 27th, so those who have lost their jobs since that date as a result of this pandemic are eligible for higher unemployment benefits. To file for unemployment, visit https://www.nhes.nh.gov/ - claims can be filed here at any time. In addition, you can call 603-271-7700 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information on filing for unemployment, click here.
Stay at Home Order in New Hampshire
Yesterday, Governor Sununu made the appropriate decision to issue a stay-at-home order for New Hampshire, directing all non-essential businesses to end in-person operations by the end of the day today, March 27th. This is an extraordinary but necessary step to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, protect the health and well-being of our communities, and maintain essential operations in our state. For more information on what this stay-at-home order means, click here.
Keeping Granite Staters Informed
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb in the Granite State, it’s essential that Granite Staters have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. That’s why Congressman Chris Pappas and I held our third telephone town hall on Wednesday to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and take questions from New Hampshire residents. We were joined by Lisa Morris, Director of the Division of Public Health Services at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH-DHHS) and Dr. Jonathan Ballard, Chief Medical Officer at NH DHHS. I appreciate Lisa and Dr. Ballard taking time out of their busy schedules to join us, and we will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation in our state closely.
Resources for You
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) are the best resources to turn to during this public health emergency.
Additional information on COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus):
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
WMUR School Closings Page
Staying In Touch
With COVID-19 forcing many Granite Staters to work remotely, my staff included, I’ve been in constant communication with businesses, non-profits and workers across the district to ensure they have up-to-date information. I’ve held three telephone town halls with Rep. Chris Pappas, public health officials, small business leaders and tens of thousands of Granite Staters to get the word out about how our State and Federal response can keep you and your family safe. I look forward to continuing these conversations in the coming weeks as we all band together to combat this virus.
Remember: keep calm and wash your hands. If you are sick, stay home and call your health care provider. If you live in NH and have questions about coronavirus, dial 2-1-1. Visit CDC.gov for more information.