U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statement on Senate passage of H.R. 748, the legislative vehicle for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act passed the Senate by a vote of 96-0.
"Coloradans and the American people need our help now more than ever and this bill delivers that relief," said Senator Gardner. "My office and I have been in constant conversation with Governor Polis, Colorado's medical professionals, families, small business owners, and workers across every industry. The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion in direct economic relief and support for our frontline healthcare providers, assistance to help ensure businesses can afford to keep employees on staff and assurances that we will get through this together. The longer Congress waits to act, more Americans will suffer. Now that the Senate has approved the CARES Act, the House must do the same. No excuses, no delays -- the American people need relief now."
Gardner has called for immediate action on the CARES Act since Sunday. The approximately $2 trillion relief package will provide direct payments to American families and more than 1.3 million Coloradans: $1,200 for individual tax filers, $2,400 for married couples, and an additional $500 per child.
The relief package contains $377 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under, which will cover 58 million American workers and more than 30 million small businesses. Small businesses make up 99.5 percent of all businesses in Colorado and employ more than 1.1 million Coloradans.
The CARES Act will provide $100 billion to our frontline healthcare providers to support them during the response and assist with lost revenue and $150 billion for states and tribes to assist in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
In addition to providing direct payments to families, support for the health care system, and stabilization for American businesses, the CARES Act will create a new form of federal unemployment insurance (UI), similar to what Gardner proposed. This new temporary "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance" program will permit far more American workers to receive UI payments during the crisis, including those whose employers have been forced closed by the COVID-19 emergency.
Senator Gardner is taking action to protect Coloradans from the COVID-19 outbreak:
Gardner along with several members of the Colorado delegation called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to quickly review the state's application for a 1135 waiver to provide Colorado's Medicaid program more flexibility to serve Coloradans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gardner and several members of the Colorado congressional delegation called on the President to approve the request from Colorado Governor Jared Polis for additional funding to support the Colorado National Guard as they work to respond to statewide incidents related to COVID-19.
On March 23, Senators Gardner, Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) called for the creation of a taskforce under the National Security Council to counter propaganda emanating from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) surrounding COVID-19.
On March 21, Senator Gardner unveiled new bipartisan legislation to help Colorado's rural hospitals and providers amid the coronavirus pandemic with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).
After urging from Senators Gardner and Michael Bennet (D-CO), Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Attorney General Phil Weiser, it was announced that Denver ABC and Fox will air in La Plata County, finally connecting Colorado satellite viewers in the Four Corners region with Colorado news and emergency information.
Gardner and bipartisan colleagues introduced the MEP Crisis Response Act of 2020, which would help Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers stay open duringthe COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
On March 19, Gardner urged Senate leadership to include a fix to allow rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers to bill Medicare for telehealth services in future legislation related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Gardner urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to waive the remainder of U.S. Forest Service fee payments in 2020 for ski areas leasing public lands to assist in the lost revenues related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
On March 18, Gardner voiced his support for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was passed by the Senate and signed into law.
On March 17, Gardner called for additional provisions known as the American Workforce Act to support American workers and boost the economy to be included in the economic stimulus package being considered by the Senate in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gardner and the entire Colorado congressional delegation wrote to the Administrator of the Small Business Association on March 17 requesting that the SBA approve the Governor of Colorado's request for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration.
On March 17, Gardner requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide clear guidelines to state and local governments on the options available to them under the national emergency declaration.
On March 16, Gardner urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to take every precaution to ensure veterans receive quality medical care during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Congress approved $8.3 billion for the United States to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 5, with Gardner's support.
At Gardner's urging, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer removed tariffs on certain medical products that are necessary for the U.S. to prepare for the COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 4, Gardner pressed Senate witnesses about the United States' preparednessfor the COVID-19 outbreak at a hearing held by the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space's hearing titled "From SARS to Coronavirus: Examining the Role of Global Aviation in Containing the Spread of Infectious Disease."
Gardner and the entire Colorado congressional delegation sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Wellness and Response on March 4 in support of the State of Colorado's grant request to ensure preparedness for the novel coronavirus outbreak.
On February 28, Gardner wrote to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer requesting USTR remove section 301 import tariffs on medical products that are necessary for the U.S. to prepare for the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
On February 27, Gardner wrote to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson requesting information regarding the United States' domestic and international screening and prevention practices for the coronavirus with regard to countries with a growing number of hotspots.
On February 6, Gardner wrote to Senate Appropriations leaders requesting that they work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure robust funding for the outbreak response.
On January 31, Gardner wrote to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros concerning Taiwan's exclusion from the WHO and WHO-sponsored emergency briefings regarding the coronavirus.
Also on January 31, Gardner wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar requesting that the novel coronavirus taskforce coordinate with medical supply manufacturers to ensure that the U.S. has a medical supply strategy in place to address possible shortages in light of potential further spread of the virus.
In January after the first reports of the coronavirus were confirmed in the U.S., Gardner contacted the CDC to inquire about steps that they plan to take to contain the outbreak and work with other domestic and international agencies to develop screening practices and treatments.
Gardner also contacted the State Department with concerns about the coronavirus and its implication for global health, and China's handling of the outbreak.
At Gardner's urging on January 24, the U.S. Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a briefing from top U.S. officials regarding the coronavirus.