Golden Votes to Increase Funding for Small Businesses and Hospitals, Expand Testing Capacity
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) voted to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act through the House of Representatives yesterday evening. The bipartisan legislation, which passed the House overwhelmingly, responds to the unprecedented public health and economic challenges facing the country by providing additional resources for small business relief programs, support for hospitals, health care providers, and frontline health care workers, and enhanced testing and contact tracing.
“I voted for this bill because many small businesses and hospitals are in crisis and need help. It’s an important step in the right direction, but it’s not going to be enough to address the long-term needs of American workers or the scope of the public health crisis.” said Golden. “As we provide care for infected Mainers, continue to prevent the spread of the virus in our state, and work through the challenges we need to overcome to open up more of our economy over time, Congress should be ready to provide further relief.
“Federal small business programs are in need of important fixes and are likely to run out of money again, additional testing resources will likely be necessary to reopen the economy, and the conditions leading to furloughs and wage cuts at rural hospitals aren’t going away. That’s why I don't agree with anyone who says Members of Congress should be going back to their districts right now,”continued Golden. “If another trillion dollar piece of legislation is necessary to pull us out of the COVID-19 crisis, it should include input from the people of Maine. When Congress is in Washington doing our jobs, we produce better, more representative legislation for the American people. Essential workers are going to work in these challenging times. They need Congress to do the same.”
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act includes:
- $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program with $60 billion set aside for small and community banks, credit unions, and other lenders in order to reach small businesses who lack relationships with large banks;
- $75 billion for hospitals and other health care providers for COVID-19 related expenses, including PPE for frontline workers, or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19;
- $50 billion for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and $10 billion for EIDL emergency grants;
- $11 billion for states and localities to scale up local testing, conduct contact tracing, and pursue other related testing activities;
- Expanded eligibility for EIDL to include agricultural producers;
- A requirement for the Administration to submit to Congress a COVID-19 Strategic Testing Plan within 30 days.
Since Congress passed the CARES Act last month, Golden has been working directly with small businesses, workers, and local leaders in Maine to navigate the new federal programs and resources. Last week, hecalled for additional funding for small business relief programs, along with changes that will provide needed flexibility for small businesses and allow more businesses to take part in the programs. He has also worked with the Maine delegation to repeatedly press the administration to provide additional PPE for the state’s frontline health care workers.