Weekly Policy Update: As Congress Considers Next Phase of Relief, CBSA Invites Members to Weigh In
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 04/17/2020
Just days after President Trump signed the CARES Act into law, Members of Congress were already talking about the need for a fourth relief package to help ease the economic pain created by the pandemic.
The Interim Package
Before they bring forward the fourth legislative package, Congressional leaders are nearing agreement on a smaller “interim” bill. The interim legislation is expected to include an additional $310 billion to replenish the funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created through the CARES Act to help small businesses get through this crisis and ran out of funding last week. $250 billion will be allocated for the regular program and $60 billion will be carved out for small businesses owned by minorities, women, and those in rural areas. The legislation is also likely to include another $60 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
The interim measure is also expected to provide an additional $75 billion for hospitals and possible $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
Democrats have been pushing for an additional $150 billion for state and local governments to be included in the interim bill, but as of Monday, Republicans are not willing to consider that as part of this package.
What’s on the table for 4.0?
Following an interim relief package to address the most immediate concerns, Congress is also considering a larger Phase 4 bill. Here are some issues we expect to be at stake.
- Additional funding for small business loans and improvements and revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program
- Emergency funding to ramp up testing and build out an infrastructure for administrating tests and tracing contacts
- More money for state and local governments and more flexibility about how that funding can be used
- Currently, the money coming to the states from the CARES Act can only be used on costs directly attributable to the pandemic, like purchasing medical supplies and setting up provisional hospitals.
- Additional payments to individuals
- Some Members are pushing for direct monthly payments to individuals, while others have proposed different solutions like requiring the federal government to cover 80% of wages for workers at any U.S. business, up to the national median wage.
- Heroes Fund
- Senate Democrats are pushing for a Heroes Fund to provide increased pay for essential workers, including health care providers, grocery clerks, and delivery drivers, as well as funds to recruit new essential workers.
- Proposals to address the increasing number of uninsured
- Increased subsidies for COBRA to make it more accessible to employees that have been laid off
- Greater expansion of Medicaid to address growing uninsured population
CBSA Wants to Hear from You
The CBSA team continues to monitor the developments happening at the federal level and engage with our local, state, and federal officials to represent our members and voice the needs of our life sciences ecosystem.
To do this, we need to hear from you.
Let us know what policies you would like to see in the next coronavirus relief package to help our community navigate through this crisis. What programs are working? What needs to be changed? What are the gaps that need to be addressed in this next effort?
Reach out to CBSA Vice President Emily Roberts to share your feedback.