COMBATTING THE CORONAVIRUS
We continue working with state and federal officials to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and limit the health and economic impacts of this pandemic. We hope the information below will help to answer frequently asked questions about guidelines and resources we worked to secure to help North Dakotans. Together, we will be able to beat the coronavirus.
Note: As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our offices are taking precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our staff continues to be available by phone or email and are taking in-person meetings by appointment. Please click here to email my office or call 202-224-2551.
Congress has approved three pieces of legislation on a bipartisan basis to provide funding to combat the coronavirus. Please click the links below to find detailed information on the resources and priorities we worked to include to assist North Dakotans:
Phase III – CARES Act – Passed March 25
- Provides $127 billion to support health care workers and hospitals
- Direct financial assistance for American families, including relief checks of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples
- Provides $350 billion in assistance for Small Businesses and Employees
- Includes nearly $25 billion for farmers and ranchers
- Assists States and Tribal Communities in responding to COVID-19
- Click here for a full summary of the legislation.
Phase II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – Passed March 18
- $105 billion in aid
- Ensures access to testing for the virus.
- Requires paid family, medical and sick leave to help prevent the spread of the disease.
- Provides emergency unemployment insurance.
- Funds nutrition assistance for families in need and ensures children who rely on free or reduced-cost school meals can access these services when schools are closed.
- $8.3 billion in aid
- Funds vaccine research and development
- Supports health system, telehealth flexibility
RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
The Treasury Department and the IRS have launched a new web tool for those who don’t normally file a tax return to register for Economic Impact Payments.
The CARES Act provides $350 billion in loan guarantees, loan subsidies, grants and technical assistance for small businesses, nonprofits and veteran’s organizations with 500 or fewer employees.
The CARES Act established the Paycheck Protection Program, which will provide 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during the COVID-19 emergency. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which helps keep workers on payroll and small businesses recover quickly from this crisis.
The CARES Act also established the Employee Retention Tax Credit, allowing any employer, regardless of size, to receive a refundable tax credit against payroll taxes for 50% of wages paid to employee, up to $10,000 (a maximum $5,000 tax credit). Businesses are eligible for the tax credit if the business: (1) is fully or partially suspended due to a governmental order related to COVID-19, or (2) experiences a significant decline in gross receipts (i.e., a reduction of 50 percent of gross receipts from the same quarter in 2019). The credit also applies to tax-exempt organizations.
Below is information from the U.S Department of Labor for both employers and employees regarding new federal paid leave requirements related to COVID-19.
Congress has passed legislation to provide increased and extended benefits for those receiving unemployment benefits, and cover those who are unable to work or have had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 and who may not otherwise be eligible for unemployment.
As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, we worked to secure nearly $25 billion in the CARES Act to support farmers and ranchers. That includes:
- $14 billion to replenish Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority for the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- $9.5 billion in separate funding for USDA to help producers, including specialty crop and livestock producers, impacted by COVID-19.
We supported legislation to provide taxpayers with additional time to file their federal income taxes. The IRS extended the deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes to July 15, 2020.
As a chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, we also advanced important priorities for tribal communities. This includes:
- $8 billion in the Tribal Stabilization Fund to provide emergency relief to tribal governments to offset costs incurred by Indian Tribes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ensuring that Indian Tribes and their businesses are eligible for the $454 billion loan guarantee funds and $349 billion under the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan 7(a) Program.
- $1.032 billion for Indian Health Service (HIS) for coronavirus response efforts, including treatment and preventing the spread of COVID-19 on tribal lands.
- $100 million for USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
- $453 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Public Safety and Law Enforcement.
- $327 million for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).
- $305 million for Indian Housing Programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).