O’Halleran Votes in Favor of Interim, Emergency Coronavirus Legislation
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Tom O'Halleran voted in favor of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a $484 billion interim emergency legislative package to address the economic fallout and public health emergency caused by the coronavirus. Yesterday, ahead of his vote, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) released the following statement:
“Tomorrow, I plan to vote in favor of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, an emergency legislative package that will provide new aid to the American people in the form of small business loans, funding for hospitals and health care workers, and robust testing operations.
“In this package, we secured $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $60 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and grants. At my urging, a portion of these EIDL loans will be allocated to agricultural enterprises so farmers can continue their important work to keep America fed, including dairy farmers in my district who are struggling.
“For small businesses, we set aside $60 billion in PPP loans for credit unions, banks, and smaller financial institutions. This measure is intended to benefit smaller, rural economies who will be hit hardest and for whom the PPP program has not provided adequate assistance thus far. I will continue to perform close oversight of these loan programs to ensure that small, main street businesses are not left behind in favor of large corporations.
“We secured $75 billion for health care workers and facilities, including funding to provide much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We have also allocated $25 billion for COVID-19 test kits and testing infrastructure, with $750 million going directly to Tribes, as well as a national strategic plan for testing, outlining the assistance that will be provided to states for these operations. Testing is a key factor in determining when we can safely reopen our economy and I am working to ensure that a good portion of these tests make their way to rural health clinics and Tribes, so we can more accurately track the scope of this viral spread in our rural communities.
“This legislation is a step, not a solution. I am disappointed to see that, at the direction of Senate leadership, funding for state, local, and Tribal governments who need aid to continue to provide critical services was not included in this package, nor were legislative corrections to the CARES Act to assist with better implementation of small business programs for those that need it most. I remain committed to securing these critical funds in any new legislation.
“Bipartisan negotiations transformed this legislation into what it is today: a critical package that will assist Americans fighting this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. I have spent the last weeks in constant communication with families and businesses across Arizona’s First Congressional District to hear what is and is not working and will continue to bring their voices to the table as we craft new legislation.”
Last week, O’Halleran urged Congressional leaders to take swift action to support small businesses, hospitals, and families. O’Halleran also pressed leadership to prioritize funding for rural areas who are being overlooked, as well as state, local, and Tribal governments. O’Halleran has been holding regular calls and virtual meetings with Arizona families, businesses, hospitals, counties, and Tribes. For a complete list of legislative and outreach actions taken by Rep. O’Halleran to address the negative effects of the coronavirus, click HERE.