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Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett's Statement on Coronavirus Stimulus Proposal in U.S. Congress


Date: March 24, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett released the following statement regarding the stimulus proposal making its way through Congress presently:

"Congress has been working on several pieces of legislation to support the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Those include support to public health, the American people, and our economy. On March 6, 2020 the President signed into law legislation to support our nation's public health agencies. Under that law, our first step, the Virgin Islands has received a CDC grant of $419,000.

"The second component of Congress' response has been passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It provides; free testing for the coronavirus, paid emergency leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, and measures for food security - all of which include the Virgin Islands. That law also increases Medicaid funding for the Virgin Islands by $4.65 million through fiscal year 2021. It also increases the federal share of Medicaid funding for the Virgin Islands to 89.2% (from 83%). Finally, it provides a payroll credit for required paid sick leave and family leave, and tax credits for sick leave and family leave for certain self-employed individuals. The bill contains special rules to ensure equality for U.S. territories in providing those credits.

"Congress is presently working on an economic stimulus package, which will be a third legislative action to be sent to the President. The current proposal from Senate Republicans includes a provision to issue tax rebates to individuals making under $99,000 and to married couples with a household income of less than $198,000. The Senate proposal is not final and will likely change as the House of Representatives finalizes its proposal and then both chambers of Congress and the White House negotiate.

"Governor Bryan has sent a substantial request to Congressional leadership related to all facets of Virgin Islanders' needs. The Governor, the Virgin Islands' Legislature and I are working together to combat this global crisis. My office is working diligently to ensure that the Virgin Islands is included in all relief packages. I will keep the community updated as the situation changes.

"Finally, I'd like to remind everyone to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and the governor's office. This is for the health and safety of all us, especially the vulnerable members of our community.