President Trump signs historic bill into law, Rep. Smith in favor of CARES Act

WASHINGTON, DC – A comprehensive bipartisan $2 trillion stimulus package to help restore the U.S. economy devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and signed into law by President Trump Friday.

     “Containing the Coronavirus pandemic, developing and deploying reliable therapeutics and creating a safe and effective vaccine must be our highest priority—no matter the cost,” said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) who returned to Washington to participate in the floor debate and support the bill. Click video below to hear Congressman Chris Smith: 

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     “People—especially those on the front lines in health care and first responders—are heroically meeting the challenge, often at great personal cost. Their tenacity, skill and courage—inspire,” he said. “The public-private partnership in my district, state and in the nation is unprecedented. We must do everything we can to flatten the curve and help our people and communities recover.”

     Smith noted that his home state of New Jersey has been hard hit by COVID-19.  “As of today,” he said, “6,876 people have tested positive with 81 deaths. Tragically, in my district, four members of one family have died from the virus.”

Smith said the new bill, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), “provides direct financial assistance to taxpayers, $100 billion in grants to hospitals, $150 billion to state and local governments, $350 billion for a new paycheck protection program that provides eight weeks of guaranteed loans to employers who retain their employees, an additional $600 per week for up to four months on top of state unemployment insurance, $25 billion for food assistance and much more.”

The CARES Act is Phase III of the federal response. Smith noted that he supported Phase I, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020—which provided $8.3 billion for treatment and prevention measures; and Phase II, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—which provided paid sick leave, family medical leave, free testing, and expanded unemployment benefits among other provisions to help working Americans. 

 As signed by President Trump, The CARES Act will:

  • Provide direct financial assistance of $1,200 for individuals making under $75,000 per year, with incrementally smaller assistance for those with higher incomes under certain thresholds
  • Allow for loans—rather than bailouts—to industries including airlines and those critical to national security, while also imposing limits on the pay employees may receive, and prohibiting stock buybacks, for businesses which utilize these plans
  • Allocate $100 billion in grants to hospitals to address coronavirus-related financial damage
  • Provide $150 billion to assist state and local governments
  • Adds $600 per week to unemployment benefits, and extends them for an additional four months
  • Direct $16 billion to assist in the procurement of medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile
  • Allocate $11 billion for coronavirus research and treatment
  • Allow cost recovery for investments in Qualified Improvement Properties (QIP)—a provision I urged House leaders to include
  • Ensure that self-employed individuals and independent contractors can qualify for unemployment benefits
  • Create a “paycheck protection program” for small businesses, which provides eight weeks of federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll. The portion of these loans used to pay workers, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.

 “More remains to be done to reverse the economic hardship caused by this virus,” Smith said. “Still this legislation ensures that the federal government send money and expertise to New Jersey to help mitigate additional job loss, support those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and support our State and local government response teams, hospitals and service industry sectors. Our country will recover, and this is an important part of that effort.”

Additional Summaries about the CARES Act 
Provided by House Committees

Tax, Unemployment and Support for Distressed Industries

Summary of Health, Tax, Unemployment, Small Business, and Distressed Industries Provisions

Summary of Key Unemployment Insurance (UI) Provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

Small Business Relief

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

CARES Act Small Business Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Paycheck Protection Program and Loan Forgiveness

Education Programs

CARES Act Education and Labor Provisions

Relief for Job Creators and Consumers

Key Financial Services Provisions in the CARES Act

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Energy and Commerce Summary of CARES Act Provisions

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Highlights of CARES Act T&I Committee Related Provisions

CARES Act - Jobs & Economic Importance of U.S. Infrastructure Network

Frequently Asked Questions - T&I Related Provisions

Overview from the House Appropriations Committee

CARES Act - Detailed Funding Summary

CARES Act - Appropriations Highlights