Coronavirus Updates

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE AS OF WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2020, AT 4:30 PM ET 

As your representative, I am continuing to work on your behalf to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Your health and safety are my top priority during this unprecedented time. This is not a hoax: This is a very serious situation and we need to protect our communities.

Legislation

On March 27, 2020, I voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. President Trump signed this legislation into law later that day. This was our "phase 3" legislative package to provide relief to Americans and small businesses that are struggling. The CARES Act will:

  • Provide American families with a tax rebate credit to help with cover expenses during this time;
  • Boost unemployment benefits;
  • Help small businesses continue to pay their employees;
  • And provide funding for health care including funding for health care providers, funding for the strategic stockpile to ensure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other medical supplies.  
In addition, earlier this month, I voted for the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) to provide nearly $8 billion in funding to respond to the coronavirus. Several clinics in Kentucky have already received this money to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in our community. In total, Kentucky will receive more than $7 million of this funding. 

I also voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which increased testing capabilities around the country and included measures to ensure that employees can take sick leave due to COVID-19 and that children have access to food services.

Please rest assured that Congress will continue to work on legislation to help Americans respond to the coronavirus outbreak. See below for a full breakdown of how our legislative action will help Kentucky families and small businesses.

How to Keep You, Your Family, and Your Community Safe

To keep you and your family safe, you must continue to practice good hygiene. Stay home if you are sick. Do not travel if you do not have to. All international travel should be postponed. Everyone, but particularly the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, should stay home as much as possible. Staying home and practicing “social distancing” is the best way to keep our communities safe.

If you believe you may have the coronavirus, please call your doctor. For more information about the coronavirus in Kentucky, you can call the Kentucky COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725.

President Trump has extended the Coronavirus Guidelines for America through April 30, 2020. These “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines recommend staying home if you are able and avoiding social gatherings of groups of more than 10 people. In addition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance issued Sunday, March 15, recommends that events that consist of 50 people or more should be canceled or postponed throughout the United States for at least eight weeks.



Resources

HEALTH

Updates from the CDC
Updates on cases in Kentucky
Kentucky coronavirus hotline: 1-800-722-5725

TAXES

Guidance from IRS on federal income taxes and the immediate cash relief Kentuckians will receive
Tax Day delayed until July 15

FOR EMPLOYEES

Information on unemployment in Kentucky
Unemployment insurance hotline: 502-564-2900
File an unemployment insurance claim

FOR BUSINESSES

Small Business Administration resources for small business owners (or call 1-800-659-2955)
IRS information on payroll tax credits for small and midsize businesses
U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet for Employers on Paid Leave
Q&A on Paid Leave
Field Assistance Bulletin on the Labor Department’s 30-day non-enforcement policy
Required Poster for Employers to Fulfill Notice Requirement
U.S. Department of Treasury Assistance for Small Businesses
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Overview
PPP Borrower Application
PPP Borrower Information Sheet
PPP Lender Information Sheet

EDUCATION

U.S. Department of Education resources available to students, parents, and teachers

TRAVEL

Individuals traveling abroad who need assistance can contact my Bowling Green District Office at 270-842-9896 or through my website
Contact for nearest U.S. embassy or consulate 
Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
U.S. State Department guidance on international travel 
CDC guidance on domestic travel

HOW YOU CAN HELP

FEMA: How You Can Help
Kentucky Emergency Management seeking companies to sell or produce PPE
Volunteer opportunities

SCAMS

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resources for consumers and for businesses
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) resources

MY OFFICE

My website 
My Bowling Green District Office: 270-842-9896

Legislative Breakdown

CARES Act – signed into law March 27, 2020

Relief to American Families:

  • A one-time tax rebate check of $1,200 per individual and $500 per child for those with a valid SSN. There are no earned income or tax liability requirements to receive these rebate checks. The full rebate amount is available for those with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples. Payments are phased out above those thresholds until it is phased out completely for single taxpayers with incomes at $99,000 or $198,000 for joint filers. Most payments will be delivered through direct deposit, and will be based on the 2018 tax year if you have not yet filed for 2019. Payments are expected to go out in the next few weeks. If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, they will be setting up a system online in the coming weeks which will allow you to provide that information.
  • Significantly boosted unemployment insurance benefits, expanding eligibility and offering certain workers an additional $600 a week on top of what state unemployment programs pay. It also provides states the flexibility to offer an additional 13 weeks of unemployment if they are furloughed or lose their job due to COVID-19. Created an employee retention tax credit to incentivize businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis.

 

Small Businesses:

  • Paycheck Protection: The bill created a new “paycheck protection program” through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) Loan Program for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Paycheck Protection Program” provides 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. The Treasury Department issued regulations requiring 75% of the loan goes towards payroll costs. These new paycheck protection loans are automatic deferrals of principal, interest, and fees for 6 months, however interest will centime to accrue over this period.  If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities will be forgiven, which will help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, 501(c)(3)s with less than 500 employees will be eligible. Businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers. The max loan amount is capped at $10 million or 2.5 times the average monthly payroll based on the prior year’s payroll. Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contact actors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans.
  • Small Business Contractors Also Get Protection: Federal agencies are required to extend contract performance periods and promptly pay small business contractors impacted by COVID-19.
  • Debt Relief: For six months, SBA is required to pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs.

 

Taxes:

  • Provides Another Option for Employers to Keep Connected to Their Employees: Employers of all sizes that face closure orders or suffer economic hardship due to the coronavirus crisis that continue to pay employees that are furloughed may be eligible for a 50% credit on up to $10,000 of wages paid to those employees.  This will help workers keep their jobs, help local businesses ride out this storm, and ensure that furloughed workers have jobs to return to.
  • Delays Payroll Tax Payments for Employers: Employers are able to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, leading to approximately $300 billion of extra cash flow for businesses

 

Health Care:

  • Ensures that all tests for COVID-19 are covered with no out of pocket costs.
  • Ensures that providers and labs supplying COVID-19 testing and related services charge fair and transparent rates.
  • Requires a COVID-19 vaccine to be covered with no out of pocket costs no later than 15 business days after a United States Preventive Task Force rating of A or B or a recommendation of coverage from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Grants DOL authority to give health, retirement, and disability plans additional time to comply with deadlines, such as COBRA continuation coverage, special enrollment, claims for benefits, appeals of denied claims, and external review of certain claims.
  • Provides additional funding for states, hospitals, providers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), education, and disaster relief.


FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT – signed into law March 18, 2020

  • Required all commercial insurance plans pay for the treatment and testing of the coronavirus.
  • Ensured that all tests administered under ERISA plans for COVID-19 are covered with no out of pocket costs
  • Provided funding and flexibility to ensure low-income students continue to have access to meals while schools are closed.
  • Ensured that employees can take sick leave if they have the coronavirus or if they are caring for someone who has it.

 

Qualified Sick Leave Wages:

  • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must pay up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to full-time employees (pro-rata rules apply to part-time employees) who are home sick from coronavirus, complying with a quarantine, or taking care of an individual who has been infected. This leave also applies to working families who may be forced home due to school closures.
  • Federal government will provide employers with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100 percent of the required wages.
  • Employees are capped at $200 per day ($511 per day in the case of employees that are home sick from coronavirus or complying with a quarantine).
  • Secretary of Labor may issue rules to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from these requirements when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

 

Qualified Family Leave Wages:

  • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide an additional 12 weeks of paid leave due to caring for a child whose school is closed.
  • The first 2 weeks of the leave, which is covered by the qualified sick leave described above, may be unpaid.
  • During the remaining 10 weeks, the employer will pay 2/3 of the employee’s salary, capped at $200 per day for up to 50 days.
  • Federal government will provide businesses with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100 percent of the required wages.
  • Secretary of Labor may issue rules to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from these requirements when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

 

CORONAVIRUS PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPATIONS ACT – signed into law March 6, 2020

This legislation provided nearly $8 billion in funding to combat the spread of coronavirus in the United States, with $7 million going to Kentucky. Four health care facilities in the Second District have already received funding through this program, with more grants to come.