I decided earlier today to drive from St. Joe to Washington, D.C. so that I can be there in person to vote for the historic coronavirus stimulus bill that will provide immediate relief to workers, families, and businesses. The U.S. Senate passed it last night, and now the House needs to pass it tomorrow before President Trump signs it into law. While my work today began at my kitchen table doing a media interview with WNDU-TV (you can watch it here), today's "Kitchen Table" update is actually from my car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Before we get to the updates, I want to share another photo with you that I took before I left. This is an idea we received from a constituent in Kalamazoo where kids put teddy bears in their windows to help with social distancing. On our street, we decided to do that too so when kids are outside on walks while social distancing, they can go up and down the street counting the teddy bears in the windows.
There have been quite a few updates since yesterday's Kitchen Table email.
Last night my colleagues from Michigan and I sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to immediately increase the amount of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing materials being made available to Michigan. Our health care workers need these resources now. You can read the letter here. The two U.S. Senators from Michigan, the Governor, and I also spoke last night with the FEMA director about the need for more PPE in Michigan.
As I mentioned, the U.S. Senate passed the coronavirus stimulus bill - called the CARES Act - late last night 96-0. There are several important aspects of this bill that will help folks across southwest Michigan. My office put together fact sheets that include helpful information and may answer your questions about how the bill will help you and your family. Here is a fact sheet for individuals and families.
There are also helpful fact sheets if you are a small business owner. Remember, as part of this deal, small business loans that businesses take out can be forgiven as long as the funds are used for payroll costs, health insurance and other employee expenses, mortgage interest, rent, or utilities. Click here to learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness. Before I left, I also spoke with Michigan bankers to make sure they were prepared to help disseminate these loans to help protect jobs and our businesses. And then in the afternoon, I spoke on a conference call with small business leaders from around the state about these provisions and made sure they knew what resources were available to them. You can watch a recap of that call here.
I also participated in a conference call with the Energy and Commerce Committee - which includes Whip Steve Scalise and fellow Michigander Tim Walberg - to discuss how the CARES Act impacts energy and commerce issues.
Lastly, my office and I worked today with a company in Van Buren County that produces a life-saving diabetes drug. The company needs alcohol to produce the drug, but their supply chain was impacted because resources were being directed to make hand sanitizer. We worked to fix the supply chain to address this issue.
This is monumental legislation, which is why I am driving back to D.C. to help get this thing over the finish line. This is an incredibly challenging time for American families as we combat the coronavirus crisis, and everyone needs just a little help right now. The CARES Act gets folks the help they need, and I will be proud to support it.
In all my calls and media interviews, I've continued to encourage folks to limit person to person contact. We need to take every precaution. Scott Gottlieb, the former director of the FDA, told a number of us today that we are still two to three weeks away from a peak, underscoring the need to continue every effort to avoid personal contact so we can break this thing and flatten the curve.
As always, if you have further questions about the bill or need any sort of assistance, please feel free to contact my office at www.upton.house.gov/contact.
Stay safe, and God bless,
Member of Congress
RESOURCES TO HELP SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN
Frequently Asked Questions about the direct financial assistance
Apply for assistance with health insurance, food, and other needs
Folks have a number of questions about the direct financial assistance for individuals, and we put together an FAQ document here that might be helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions about the small business provisions in the CARES Act
We know small business owners have several questions, as well, about what the provisions in the CARES Act means for them. You can access an FAQ document for small business owners here.
If you or your family needs assistance with health insurance, food, and other needs, please visit the state of Michigan's MI Bridges website here.