Times are tough right now and we will face more challenges in the coming weeks. But throughout American history, we have unified to defeat our common enemies. This time will be no different. To overcome the coronavirus, we all have a role to play. America is working together and we are seeing examples right in our community of neighbors stepping up and giving back. Together, that’s how we’ll get through this. If you have not already, I encourage you to read my recent op-ed on emergency relief measures to fight the Coronavirus. You can find it by clicking here.
Economic Impact Payments
In the coming weeks, economic impact payments will begin to be sent out to eligible American citizens. Most Americans, including those receiving Social Security, will not have to do any additional work to receive their payment.
Important: If you don't typically file, and you do not receive Social Security, you can register for economic impact payments by visiting: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here
For those needing to submit direct deposit information, the IRS will launch a secure portal in the near future.
Federal Medical Assistance
Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, federal grants are on the way to Michigan's 7th District. The Center for Family Health in Jackson County will receive $1,039,385 and the Family Medical Center of Michigan with locations in Lenawee and Monroe Counties will receive $839,300. The federal government has also awarded nearly $28 million in grants for health centers statewide in Michigan to combat the outbreak, and that number will continue to grow.
Additionally, as another provision of the CARES Act, hospitals and health care providers will be receiving federal funds to continue to treat patients and make sure they have the needed resources to fight the Coronavirus. Health & Human Services (HHS) recently announced the first distribution payments to health care providers. In this first distribution payment, Michigan providers will receive more than $936 million.
FEMA Support in Michigan
In addition to federal efforts like the CARES Act, which is providing significant federal funding to combat the spread in Michigan, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently delivered more supplies from federal stockpiles to Michigan including...
In addition, FEMA has set up alternate care sites at the TCF Center as well as Novi to ease burdens related to bed counts.
Assisting Health Care Workers
Recently, I cosponsored Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations (HEROES) Act, which would create a four month federal income tax holiday for medical professionals and first responders, in counties with COVID-19 cases. So many people in Michigan and across this country are getting up in the morning ready to go to work and heroically fight this virus. Members of the military serving in combat zones often are exempt from paying federal income tax, and this time warrants similar exemptions for these professions.
With an unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), there have been shortages in certain areas, and I have been working constantly to increase supplies in Michigan. I have relayed concerns between providers, local and state health officials, Governor Whitmer's Administration, and the Trump Administration to emphasize the urgent need for additional medical supplies on the front lines. Click here to read a recent letter the bipartisan Michigan delegation sent to Vice President Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force urging more PPE shipments to our state.
In addition to facilitating and coordinating those requests, I have taken a series of votes to allocate resources to give the ability for local, state, and federal government health officials to purchase equipment, as well as streamline regulations to immediately increase production. On March 4, I voted to appropriate $8.3 billion to increase preparedness, which included grants for state and local health agencies to purchase supplies.
After this vote, I supported H.R.6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which allows greater flexibility for producers of N95 masks to manufacture tens of millions of additional masks each month.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, which I drove back to D.C. to help create a quorum and pass the bill, rushed resources to hospitals, doctors and other front line providers. In addition to these funds, $27 billion was allocated into improved testing and treatment methods, as well as medical supplies and PPE.
I have also been supportive of administrative efforts through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cut red tape to allow easier importation of PPE as well as streamline processes. FEMA and Health and Human Services (HHS) have also created "Project Airbridge," which has began to further fill the gap between supply and demand, by airlifting resources from all across the world. Earlier this week, 11.7 million N95 respirators, 26.5 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns, and 22.6 million gloves have been distributed through "Project Airbridge."
President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to further increase production, and 3M will deliver 55.5 million face masks each month. General Motors also has entered into a contract with HHS to produce 6000 more ventilators by June. DuPont and Phillips have also entered into agreements to rapidly increase available supplies.
I remain committed to taking every action possible to make sure our heroes fighting this virus receive the supplies needed.
Volunteer and Employment Opportunities
Michigan has launched a website for those looking to assist during this challenging time. There are various volunteer opportunities, as well as information on making supply donations. You can learn more information by visiting: www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19.
Paycheck Protection Program
I encourage small businesses to contact their lender to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program SBA loan to help meet payroll during these challenging times. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees including nonprofits and veterans organizations are eligible. For more information regarding these loans, please visit: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
My office has been assisting lenders who typically do not provide SBA loans, so I encourage any lenders having difficulty gaining SBA approval to contact my office at (517) 780-9075.
Congress will need to increase funding to ensure that small businesses are not left out. It is my hope that bipartisanship will prevail and small businesses will not be used as a pawn to advance a political agenda -- this is not the time for partisan games. Americans come together at difficult times and I'm confident we will work together to get through this.