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Coronavirus

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From the beginning, I have been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the health crisis and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has ravaged our communities in Southwest Michigan and around the world. Loved ones have passed away. Millions have lost jobs. And our economy will need help restarting.

THE CARES ACT

On March 27, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act, bipartisan legislation that provided relief to workers and small businesses. The CARES Act included:

  • Loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, health insurance and other employee expenses, mortgage, and utilities
  • Immediate cash assistance to individuals and families
  • Additional relief for hospitals and funding for essential supplies such as testing kits, ventilators, PPE, reagent supply, and hospital conversion
  • Expanded unemployment benefits to include part-time, self-employed, contract, and gig economy workers
  • Extended unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks — at 100 percent levels
  • Employee retention tax credit to keep Americans in their jobs 
  • Low-or-zero interest loan program to businesses willing to keep their employees in their positions during the coronavirus crisis
  • Loan deferral and forbearance for individuals and businesses of all sizes, during the crisis (e.g. mortgages, lines of credits, student loans, and other qualifying loans), keeping those lines of credit open which are necessary to allow employers to get back on their feet

Our office put together a Resource Guide for Southwest Michigan to help residents navigate the various packages in the CARES Act designed to help them. Click here for the resource guide.

SECURING PPE FOR OUR FRONT-LINE WORKERS

Getting PPE to our front-line workers was a top priority for me. We worked with several private companies to get tens of thousands of masks donated to our large hospitals. We also worked with Western Michigan University to get them FDA schematics to 3D print masks. We partnered with different private companies on making hand sanitizer. And, throughout the crisis, my staff and I were on numerous calls with members of the Michigan delegation, the governor, and members of the Administration to help get more federal allocations of PPE and testing to the state.

THE PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

The Paycheck Protection Program is a solemn promise to our community’s small businesses. The program provides loans to small businesses that would be forgiven if the funding was used on payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.

I helped lead the call for additional, continuous funding for this program. It is critical to helping small businesses stay afloat and keeping employees on payroll. My office and I worked hand in glove with lenders and small businesses. 

ASSISTING CONSTITUENTS

My staff in D.C. and here in Southwest Michigan worked closely with constituents to help them navigate the federal government during the coronavirus crisis. We helped residents return home, get them off cruise ships, and get information about their stimulus checks. We put together a resource website and a Southwest Michigan Resource Guide to help answer the most common questions folks had.

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