Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass a $2 trillion economic stimulus package to help Wisconsin's workers, families, businesses, and health care system survive the economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes funding:
For fighting COVID-19: $200 billion investment in hospitals, health systems, and health research, and $150 billion for state and local governments in this agreement, to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency.
For workers: $260 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers, as well as an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to be made available immediately. Direct payments of $1,200 to Americans earning up to $75,000, which would gradually phase out for higher earners, and an additional $500 per child.
For small businesses: $377 billion infusion of fast relief for small businesses and SBA loan forgiveness for the cost of rent, mortgage, and utilities.
For students: More than $30 billion in emergency education funding and tax relief for employers providing student loan repayment assistance.
For farmers: $9.5 billion to USDA for specialty producers & farmers supporting local food systems such as schools.
For accountability and oversight: Special oversight requirements for corporations that receive financial support in order to prevent executive bonuses and stock buybacks.
The legislation passed through both the House and Senate with unanimous bipartisan support.
"Our country is currently facing a serious health emergency, and with it an economic emergency. Today we took another important step toward getting businesses, working families, and health care providers the support they need during these tough times," said Rep. Ron Kind. "I'm glad Congress could put our differences aside and work with the Administration to provide immediate financial support for many Wisconsinites, increase unemployment insurance benefits for those out of work, support Wisconsin businesses through this challenging time, and ensure hospitals have the resources they need to combat COVID-19 in a safe way. This can't be the last step to address these crises, either. I will continue to work with federal, state, and local leaders to ensure that Congress is doing everything it can to provide Wisconsinites with some certainty during these uncertain times."
This is the third bill passed by Congress this month to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by increasing funding for researching and developing vaccines, expanding access to telehealth services for seniors, and providing funding to local health centers. Congress then passed a second bill, which included Rep. Kind's legislation to guarantee free COVID-19 testing for all Wisconsinites. The legislation also provided paid sick and family leave to employees at no cost to small and medium-sized employers, protected health care workers on the front line, and provided additional resources for rural health care providers.