Portman Backs Senate Passage of the CARES Act to Address Coronavirus Pandemic

Rescue Package Will Provide Needed Resources to Our Health Care System, Help Affected Americans Make Ends Meet, and Help Keep Businesses and Our Economy Afloat

March 25, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded Senate passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act will help American families, workers, and employers large and small around the nation during this coronavirus pandemic. Portman was involved in the bipartisan task force negotiations that led to this legislation and delivered remarks on the Senate floor various times this week urging the Senate to come together on a bipartisan basis to get this important rescue package passed. The measure now awaits passage in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This historic effort is designed to help workers, families, employers, and health professionals weather the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This measure includes billions to support our hospitals and health care providers, provides additional funding for the CDC to put in place more testing and to better collect data to track the virus, provides a significant increase in unemployment insurance benefits for workers who have been laid off, and authorizes loans to businesses, small and large, to help keep their workers on their payrolls. I’m pleased this measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and urge the House to pass it quickly so it can get to the president for his signature.

“As important as these new policies are, measuring the successes they bring is just as essential. Specifically, we must quickly set up a robust system for tracking the daily number of new coronavirus cases emerging across the various regions of our country. Thanks to this legislation, state and local health departments will have additional resources and capacity to continue to send daily updates to a centralized database developed and run by the Centers for Disease Control. Ultimately, when we start to see the number of new cases decline, more Americans will have the confidence to begin to return to their normal daily lives in an incremental manner.”

The CARES Act includes a number of important provisions to help workers, families, employers, and health professionals. Specifically, the bill:

  • Includes $150 billion for health care providers to support the nation’s hospitals, doctors and nurses;
  • Provides $4.3 billion to support the CDC and state and local health departments as they identify every potential case;
  • Provides accelerated payment opportunities for hospitals supporting vulnerable populations like children’s hospitals, rural hospitals, and specialty cancer hospitals like Ohio State’s The James, to help them maintain cash flows while they voluntarily suspend elective procedures to conserve PPE for providers treating COVID-19 patients. Portman worked with his Finance Committee Chairman Grassley to help secure this;
  • Provides direct financial assistance to families in need, including $1,200 for individuals making less than $75,000 and $2,400 for couples making less than $150,000. Families with children would be eligible for an additional $500 per child;
  • Includes a four-month, historic increase in unemployment insurance benefits, including expanding benefit eligibility to cover self-employed individuals, government workers, and nonprofit employees, to provide low- and medium-income individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own with full wage replacement;
  • Provides $350 billion in small business loans for companies with under 500 employees that effectively become grants if those loans are used to keep workers on payroll, make rent and mortgage payments, or pay utilities;
  • Includes $500 billion in immediate tax relief for businesses of all sizes, including provisions such as payroll tax deferral and the ability to immediately monetize tax losses;
  • Creates a new fund established through the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to provide loans and loan guarantees to businesses and industries that have been particularly affected by the current crisis, such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, nonprofits, and more;
  • Includes strong transparency and accountability safeguards for any company that accesses federal loans and creates a new federal inspector general to oversee these loans; and
  • Provides $150 billion to support states and local governments that are impacted by the coronavirus to ensure they can continue to provide basic services for their citizens, including roughly $4.5 billion to Ohio.