U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) today voted to provide swift aid to Arizona families, small businesses, hospitals, and tribal communities facing financial insecurity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Arizona, relief is finally on the way!” McSally said. “This package sends cash directly to Arizonans to support their basic needs while they stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This bill also expands unemployment benefits for those laid off due to this unprecedented pandemic. However, a main objective of this bill is to provide money to small businesses to keep employees connected to employers, so we provide 100% forgiven loans to small businesses to maintain employees on the payroll and pay overhead costs to keep their business afloat until we defeat this virus. Our frontline health care warriors and hospitals will also receive much-needed resources to protect themselves and save lives.
“I also secured significant resources for Arizona’s tribes, including a new $8 billion relief fund specifically for Indian Country, and ensured they have access to the small business forgiven loans and expanded unemployment benefits. America and Arizona will prevail against this invisible enemy, but we need to ensure Arizonans and their small businesses can hit the ground running once this crisis is over. This sorely needed $2 trillion support and relief package is urgent and the House must pass it right away.”
Download bill text HERE.
The bill will provide:
Cash Relief to Americans
- Most individuals who made less than $75,000 on their 2018 tax returns will receive a $1,200 check, and couples who made less than $150,000 will receive a $2,400 check. Those with children will receive an additional $500 for each dependent child.
- Unemployment benefits will increase to $850 per week (currently $250 per week in Arizona) with expanded eligibility for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, part-time workers, and gig economy workers, like Uber and Lyft drivers.
Support for Small Businesses and other Employers
- Specialized small business loans will be available through local banks. The portion of these loans used for basic operations, including processing payroll and paying rent, will be converted into a grant and forgiven.
- Employee Retention Tax Credit: provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers whose (1) operations were fully or partially suspended, due to a COVID-19related shut-down order, or (2) gross receipts declined by more than 50 percent when compared to the same quarter in the prior year.
- Modifications for Net Operating Losses: these changes will allow companies to utilize losses and amend prior year returns, which will provide critical cash flow and liquidity during the COVID-19 emergency. Senator McSally introduced similar legislation in June last year.
- Investments in Qualified Improvement Property: enables businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, to write off immediately costs associated with improving facilities instead of having to depreciate those improvements over the life of the building.
- Relief from Financial Hardship for Small Businesses and Families: allows for Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) to make it easier for individuals and businesses currently experiencing financial hardship to work with their financial institution to address immediate financial hardship.
- Helping Institutions Serve their Communities: expedited guidance from the Small Business Administration to streamline the new small business Paycheck Protection Program grants and loans so small business have fast access to much needed cash.
Resources for Medical Teams and Health Care Workers
- $117 Billion for Hospitals and Veterans Health Care
- $45 Billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund
- $16 Billion for the Strategic National Stockpile
- $4.3 Billion for the Centers for Disease Control
- $11 Billion for Vaccines, Therapeutics, Diagnostics, & Other Medical Needs
- Delay of Disproportionate Share Hospital Reductions: The section would delay scheduled reductions in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments through November 30, 2020. Senator McSally introduced similar legislation in December last year.
- Increasing Provider Funding through Immediate Medicare Sequester Relief: temporary suspension of the Medicare sequester during the coronavirus pandemic, understanding that during this national public health emergency, Arizona hospitals needed as much funding as possible to respond to the COVID-19 threat, not a statutorily required cut in payments.
- Survey and Certification of Healthcare Facilities: $100 million to support additional infection control surveys for facilities with populations vulnerable to severe illness from coronavirus. Senator McSally sent a letter to HHS and CDC expressing concerns about the grave impact the coronavirus had on seniors in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Support for Arizona’s Tribes
- $8 Billion Stabilization Fund set aside specifically for tribal governments to deal with the immense costs of COVID-19 response.
- Parity for Tribes: to ensure they have access to the same economic relief measures as states, local governments and private businesses, including:
- Access to forgivable loans provided by the Small Business Administration for tribal businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
- Eligibility for tribes and their businesses, including gaming enterprises, for the $500 billion loan guarantee fund.
- Tribes will be gain access to federal funding for increased unemployment insurance afforded to states in the bill.
- Tribal Priority Allocations: increase of $453 million which is the most flexible funding mechanism available for tribal government operations.
- Indian Health Service: increase of $1.03 billion to support tribal health care system response efforts.
Relief for Farmers
- $9.5 billion in emergency support for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, and livestock producers.
Relief for Airports
- $10 billion to maintain operations at our nation’s airports that are facing a record drop in passengers.
Relief for Education
- $30.9 billion Education Stabilization Fund: Flexible funding that will get out the door quickly and go directly to states, local school districts, and institutions of higher education to help schools, students, teachers, and families with immediate needs related to coronavirus, including:
- Elementary and Secondary Education: $13.5 billion in formula funding directly to states, to help schools respond to coronavirus and related school closures, meet the immediate needs of students and teachers, improve the use of education technology, support distance education, and make up for lost learning time.
- Higher Education: $14.25 billion in funding to institutions of higher education to directly support students facing urgent needs related to coronavirus, and to support institutions as they cope with the immediate effects of coronavirus and school closures. This provides targeted formula funding to institutions of higher education, as well as funding for minority serving institutions and HBCUs.
- State Flexibility Funding: $3 billion in flexible formula funding to be allocated by states based on the needs of their elementary and secondary schools and their institutions of higher education.
Relief for Charities
- Financial Assistance for Charities: creates a new deduction for donations made to non-profits in 2020, which will encourage Americans to contribute to churches and other non-profit charitable organizations that provide much needed services to communities across the country.
Last week, McSally secured free coronavirus testing for Arizonans, along with increased support for food security programs and increased funding for Medicaid and state unemployment programs. She also worked with the Administration to make the entire state of Arizona eligible for the Small Business Administration’s coronavirus economic injury disaster loans.
On March 24, Sen. McSally spoke on the floor urging swift passage of the relief package.
On March 24, Sen. McSally introduced legislation to withhold pay from all U.S. Senators until a COVID-19 relief and support package was passed.
On March 21, Sen. McSally shared resources for Arizonans in search of work.
On March 20, Sen. McSally and Sen. Steve Daines sent a letter to Congress requesting that emergency funding for America’s tribal communities be included in the latest coronavirus relief package.
On March 19, Sen. McSally announced the availability of economic injury disaster loans for Arizona small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 19, Sen. McSally issued a Public Service Announcement urging Arizonans to stay home to help flatten the curve to avoid overwhelming the nation’s health care system and slow the spread of coronavirus.
On March 19, Sen. McSally made a statement in support of the tax payment deadline extension.
On March 18, Sen. McSally spoke with members of Arizona’s National Federation of Independent Business to hear their concerns.
On March 18, Sen. McSally spoke with the Arizona Multihousing Association about renter protections and eliminating evictions.
On March 18, Sen. McSally called the Phoenix and Tucson Airport Authorities to hear how coronavirus is impacting their business.
On March 17, Sen. McSally spoke with Arizona hospital CEOs to get feedback on what they need now, including access to testing and supplies.
On March 17, Sen. McSally spoke with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce to discuss the efforts in Congress to deliver relief to Arizona workers and businesses.
On March 17, Sen. McSally spoke with county health officials to receive an update and discuss their work to serve all impacted Arizonans.
On March 13, Sen. McSally spoke to Gov. Doug Ducey to discuss how state and federal representatives can work together to ensure Arizona is fully equipped to respond to COVID-19.
On March 13, Sen. McSally spoke with senior officials at the Phoenix VA to discuss COVID-19 preparation.
On March 5, McSally voted to provide over $8 billion in emergency funding to combat the spread of coronavirus in Arizona and across the United States.
On March 4, Sen. McSally asked Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prioritize and prevent the spread of coronavirus within nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
On March 1, Sen. McSally spoke with Vice President Pence about the Administration’s response to the spread of the disease and encouraged him to set up screening procedures for travelers to the U.S.
On February 28, Sen. McSally sent a letter to the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) urging him to ramp up their preparedness at the border and ports of entry.
On February 18, Sen. McSally visited an infectious disease research facility in Flagstaff, which has developed genomics-based test that can easily be used in a doctor’s office or hospital emergency room to diagnose the COVID-19 virus.