Sarbanes Votes to Pass Interim COVID-19 Relief Package

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a bill to provide additional economic relief for small businesses, extend critical funding to hospitals, health care providers and frontline health care workers and expand COVID-19 testing capabilities across America.

The final package was significantly improved by House and Senate Democrats, who fought to include additional funding for lending institutions that can reach and assist small businesses in underbanked and underserved communities. House and Senate Democrats also expanded the package to include funding for health care providers and health care workers, along with funding to enhance COVID-19 testing capacity.

“Our latest, bipartisan response to the COVID-19 crisis will provide another round of urgently needed financial support for small businesses in Maryland and across the country – with targeted funds for small businesses in underbanked and underserved communities,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Importantly, the package also includes vital resources for hospitals and health care workers, who are fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines every single day – at great risk to themselves and their families. The bill will also expand our nation’s testing capabilities so that we can better track the virus, contain clusters of outbreaks and let healthy Americans get back to work.”

Sarbanes continued: “As we continue to address this unprecedented public health emergency, my colleagues and I remain committed to helping American families weather the financial impacts of the crisis and keeping our communities safe. A key piece of this effort includes supporting state and local governments, who face significant fiscal shortfalls as they work to fight COVID-19 and maintain essential services for the American people. While we weren’t able to reach a bipartisan agreement in today’s response package to provide the funding requested by Republican and Democratic state officials across the country, I will work to ensure that the next phase of our COVID-19 response effort delivers these necessary resources to states, counties and cities across America.”

Key provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act include:

  • Economic Relief for Small Businesses: Strengthens the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $310 billion in additional funding – with $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for mid-sized banks and credit unions. The bill also expands small business support beyond PPP by securing $50 billion for SBA emergency disaster lending and $10 billion in SBA emergency disaster grants.
  • Desperately Needed Funding for Hospitals, Health Care Providers and Frontline Health Care Workers: $75 billion in funding for health care providers and health care workers on the frontlines of this crisis, including funding for Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Added Resources for COVID-19 Testing: $25 billion for testing – the single-most important factor for reopening our economy.