WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued a statement following the vote on the third phase of emergency assistance to address the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. The bill passed by a vote of 96-0.
“The Senate has taken action to meet the needs of Oklahomans and their families,” Lankford said. “Every aspect of our communities is being affected by this crisis, and it’s critical that Congress provide much-needed support and assistance in this unprecedented time of need.
“Every American is called to stop this pandemic by taking action to slow the spread of the virus for 15 days. This comes at a great consequence to many American workers and small businesses. This bill is targeted at the heart of our Oklahoma economy—small businesses, the workers they employ,and the families they serve.
“Our nation and our state are resilient. We know what it means to work together to get through difficult times.”
The bill includes:
- $150 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments, including at least $1.25 billion for Oklahoma.
- Direct checks to adult individuals for $1,200, $2,400 for married couples, and an additional $500 for dependents.
- Four months of increased unemployment insurance to Americans who lose their jobs in response to the crisis.
- $117 billion for hospitals, senior living centers, and veterans’ health care.
- $11 bill for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other preparation needs.
- $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $16 billion for the Strategic National Preparation Stockpile.
- $45 bill for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund.
- $30 billion for education for K-12 and higher education. $1.8 billion to refund student loan payments.
- Support for small business and nonprofits through a $367 billion loan to grant program that pays the payroll while employees are out of work. The loan of up to $10 million will be forgiven if used for payroll, utilities, or lease payments.
- Clarifies that all testing for COVID-19 is to be covered by private insurance plans without cost sharing.
- Makes available loans from the Treasury for passenger and cargo air carriers and for businesses critical to national security.
- Includes charitable giving dedication of $300, which Lankford advocated for. Lankford offered an amendment that would have increased the limit to one-third the standard dedication ($4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married couples). The amendment was supported by over 3,200 nonprofit organizations nation-wide.
- Three-month extension, which Lankford introduced last week, of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards regulatory program on high-risk chemical facilities. The program was set to expire on April 18, 2020.