U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today voted in favor of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which the Senate passed by a vote of 96-0.
The CARES Act is the third package the Senate has passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Crapo voted to support funding that would help bolster the nation’s response to the virus, followed by a second bipartisan package to provide relief to Americans facing financial hardships.
As Banking Committee Chairman, Senator Crapo worked on the Senate task force charged with addressing small business and market liquidity issues in the CARES Act.
Crapo was the lead negotiator on the provision designed to provide significant economic support to severely distressed sectors of the U.S. economy. The provision has the potential to inject approximately $4 trillion back into the marketplace. Additionally, Crapo secured $1 billion for the Defense Production Act (DPA) Fund, which will help the Department of Defense prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The DPA funding could include the production of ventilators, protective gear, sanitizers, drugs or other necessities. In total, the Senate package has the potential to provide roughly $6 trillion to support our economy.
“This crisis has had a major impact on the physical and economic health of our country, and a major response was required,” said Crapo. “This bipartisan product puts needed cash directly into the hands of American workers and families, provides rapid relief to small businesses, helps stabilize our markets and the economy, and sends a massive new infusion of resources to the front lines of the medical response.”
The CARES Act takes a number of bold steps to preserve and protect the economic foundations of our nation and to help on the front lines of fighting this epidemic:
- Direct financial help for the American people including cash payments, expanded access to unemployment insurance and delayed tax filing deadlines;
- Rapid relief for small businesses and incentives to keep their employees on payroll;
- Significant steps to stabilize our economy, keep businesses open and protect jobs;
- Bolstered telehealth capabilities and additional flexibilities;
- Increased support for health care services at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities;
- Ensured patient access to any future COVID-19 vaccine by waiving cost-sharing requirements in private and federal health insurance programs;
- Expansion of and increased funding for the Strategic National Stockpile to include personal protective equipment; and
- More support for the brave health care professionals and the patients fighting the coronavirus on the front lines.
Crapo worked closely with senate leadership and the Administration on a provision that will allow the government to offer secured loans to help stand the economy back up and keep workers employed.
The primary focus of the provision designates $500 billion to replenish the Exchange Stabilization Fund housed within the U.S. Treasury Department. The Federal Reserve can leverage these funds to inject nearly $4 trillion into the economy.
That kind of liquidity boost will turbocharge the economy, helping to keep businesses solvent so that employees have a job to return to when this is crisis has passed. The provision also includes strict stipulations for loan qualifications to ensure that taxpayers are protected.
“Small and large businesses are losing access to liquidity, putting them at serious risk of closing down permanently and displacing millions of workers,” Crapo said. “If businesses go insolvent today, then the economy and the finances of U.S. citizens will suffer long after the coronavirus is contained. We found a way to responsibly inject potentially trillions of dollars back into the market, helping businesses keep their doors open, keep their employees on the payroll and restore as much normalcy at this unprecedented time as possible. This measure, combined with the broader CARES Act, will provide almost $6 trillion in immediate relief to severely affected industries, helping to stabilize the economy and get Americans through this crisis.”