Sanders: What you need to know about the federal stimulus package

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Sanders: What you need to know about the federal stimulus package

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 11:39am -- tim

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) The federal stimulus package goes a long way in providing relief to the working families of this country who are struggling during this unprecedented economic crisis. Let me be clear: this is not the bill I would have written. But, I'm proud to have worked with my colleagues to prioritize workers and small businesses over billionaires and massive corporations. This new law provides a critical investment in our health care system, with a focus on providers and patients. It gives direct aid to states, many of which have already implemented strong measures to help their residents through this difficult time. And, importantly, it provides direct aid to individuals who are suffering. There is a lot more to be done and I'm not finished fighting for you.

 

Major Accomplishments of this Law:

Supporting the American People – $1,200 Direct Payments

  • $1,200 one-time direct payment to all eligible adults making $75,000 and under per year.
    • If you've filed a tax return in the last two years, and are income eligible, you will receive a payment. Non-filers will need to file to qualify and further guidance will be made available.
  • $ 500 one-time direct payment per child per household.
  • One-time, income based payment for individuals making between $75,000 and $99,000.
  • $900,000 million to help low-income households heat and cool their homes through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
 

Supporting Working Families – $260 Billion for Unemployment Insurance

  • $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits for up to four months.
  • Unemployment benefits expanded to included part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers through December 31st, 2020. 
  • Additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits. 
 

Supporting our Health Care System – $150 Billion for Hospitals and Front Line Health Providers

  • $100 billion to help hospitals and providers fight this pandemic and continue to protect the health of the American people. This will be used to provide personal protective equipment and testing supplies, set-up facilities to safely house patients, and help struggling hospitals and health centers pay their staff and provide critically-needed care.
  • $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile supplies of personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other medical supplies so patients and providers stay safe.
  • $1 billion to increase manufacturing of medical supplies through the Defense Production Act so our country's manufacturers can play a critical role in getting urgently needed supplies, like masks and ventilators, for our front line health care workers and patients. 
 

Supporting the Health of the American people 

  • Re-authorization of the Community Health Center programs through November 30th, plus an additional $1.3 billion in emergency funding.
    • More than 1 in 4 Vermonters rely on federally-qualified health centers for their care and this key provision will help keep their doors open and serving their patients.
    • Permits FQHCs to offer patient care through telemedicine.
  • No out of pocket costs for coronavirus testing and prevention for people with Medicare and private insurance so that no one delays care during this critical moment for public health.
    • Vermont Health Connect announced a special enrollment period. If you need health insurance, sign up by April 17th by calling 855-899-9600 or click here: portal.healthconnect.vermont.gov
  • Medicare is required to allow fills and refills of prescription drugs up to a 3-month supply during this emergency so Americans do not need to fear going without needed medication.
  • $15.85 billion to provide care for our nation's veterans impacted by coronavirus.
  • $15.5 billion to ensure our most vulnerable citizens receive the food they need during this crisis through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
 

Supporting Small Businesses and Nonprofits – $377 Billion Rescue Plan

  • $350 billion to small businesses and non-profits to help maintain their existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities through loan forgiveness grants.
    • Businesses may apply for up to $10 million to cover 8 weeks of average payroll. The loan will be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels.
    • Self-employed and gig workers are eligible for this assistance.
  • $10 billion in immediate relief to help small businesses and nonprofits with operating costs through Emergency Economic Injury grants.
  • $17 billion to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
 

Supporting our Communities, Local, State and Tribal Governments – $150 Billion in Direct Aid

  • $150 billion in direct aid to states to support the efforts already being done to address this pandemic and economic crisis.
    • Vermont will receive $1.25 billion. 
  • $1.5 billion for state and local preparedness and response activities through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to the $1 billion previously appropriated. 
    • Vermont will receive $5.4 million.
  • $45 billion to provide for immediate needs of local and state governments and support entities performing essential services to protect citizens through FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund.
    • Vermont will receive $826,000 in Emergency Preparedness grants. 
  • $1 billion to help community organizations providing social services and emergency assistance through the Community Services Block Grant.
    • Vermont will receive $5 million.
    • Visit the following site to learn about the services offered by your local community agency: https://vermontcap.org/
  • $5 billion to support expansion of critical facilities — health centers, child care centers, food banks and senior services through the Community Development Block Grant. 
    • Vermont will receive $4.7 million.
 

Supporting our Students, Educators and Child Care Providers – $30.75 Billion for Education Services

  • $30.75 billion to address the needs of students as they continue their education, and to support K-12 education and higher education institutions through this transition to distance learning. 
  • $8.8 billion to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session through additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs.
  • Relief for students in debt — student loan payments for all federally held loans are deferred for 6 months with no interest accrual, and involuntary collection for defaulted loans is suspended. 
  • $3.5 billion to help child care providers, and to provide child care assistance for essential workers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
    • Vermont will receive $4.3 million. 
 

Supporting our Elections – $400 million:

  • $400 million to ensure the stability of our elections and protect our democratic system — funding will go to the Election Assistance Commission to support the 2020 election cycle.
    • Vermont will receive $3 million.
  • Funding may go towards increasing the ability to vote by mail, expanding early voting and online registration, and increasing the number of polling places and workers.
 

Supporting Renters, Homeowners, and Those at Risk of Homelessness – $7 Billion in Housing Assistance

  • $4 billion to support those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness through Emergency Solution Grants, and $3 billion to help low-income Americans avoid evictions through rental assistance.
    • Vermont will receive $4.6 million total for housing assistance grants.
    • If you need emergency housing call 2-1-1. To learn about emergency assistance for housing needs click here: https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/EA-GA
  • 60 day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with federally backed mortgages, and up to 180 days of forbearance during this crisis. 
  • 120 day moratorium on evictions, and a ban on late charge fees, in properties receiving any federal assistance. 
 

Supporting our Farmers – $9.5 Billion

  • $9.5 billion to support farmers as they continue to support us and our food system. 
 

This is a historic piece of legislation to help our country through this crisis. I know the American people want our taxpayer dollars to be used to help working families and I hope this law will provide much needed relief. My office will continue sharing information with Vermonters as it becomes available. As always, do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance on our website or by phone at 802-862-0697 or 1-800-339-9834. While my office is remote working during this crisis, my staff is working hard to be responsive to the needs of Vermonters.