KINY: Murkowski, Sullivan applaud COVID-19 funding package
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are applauding unanimous Senate passage of a coronavirus relief package.
The package totals $484 billion, which provides additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 testing, and added support for hospitals.
The purpose of the majority of this funding is to provide a boost to programs that were previously authorized and funded from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act which was signed into law in March.
The bill authorizes an additional $310 billion to support loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The PPP provides fee-free loans of up to $10 million for businesses and many non-profits, which can be used to help pay for a variety of expenses. In addition, loans to employers who maintain their payroll during the emergency may be forgiven for up to 8 weeks of payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest payments. Tribal small businesses will be eligible for these loans. The program is also available to self-employed individuals and “gig economy” workers. Of the increase, $60 billion is set aside for small- and medium-sized lenders.
An additional $50 billion is provided for the Disaster Loans Program Account, which replenishes funds for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The bill provides a $10 billion boost to the EIDL Grants program. In addition, the bill allows agricultural enterprises with no more than 500 employees to be eligible for EIDL grants and loans.
The bill provides $100 billion to address healthcare needs— including support for healthcare providers, funding to increase testing capacity, and direct support for states and tribes responding to the pandemic.
Specifically, $75 billion is provided to ensure healthcare providers and hospitals continue to receive the support they need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue. To expand capacity for COVID-19 tests, $25 billion is provided for expenses related to expanding COVID-19 testing capacity.
This funding for expanding testing includes $11 billion available for states and localities, with $750 million of that provided to tribes and tribal health organizations. Additionally, $825 million will be available for Community Health Centers and rural health clinics.