Legislative Action Taken:
My top priority is protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all Arkansans during this pandemic. Federal, state, and local authorities continue to work together on all levels to respond to this public health threat. Congress, alongside the White House Coronavirus Task Force and President Donald Trump, have taken comprehensive action to provide support to families, businesses, communities, health agencies, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and emergency responders.
Phase 1 – Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Act
Congress passed nearly $8 billion in emergency funding to help speed the development of vaccines, bolster access to testing and treatments, and expand access to telemedicine services.
- Funding to increase testing, support treatments, and invest in vaccine development.
- Resources to purchase essential medical equipment/supplies, and for the CDC, NIH, and state and local response efforts.
Phase 2 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Congress enacted bipartisan legislation to help families, businesses, and communities, keep Americans safe, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This legislation provides immediate, targeted relief to American workers affected by coronavirus, increases access to tests, and supports public health efforts.
- Free coronavirus testing for Americans.
- Expansion of paid sick and medical leave for workers.
- Food assistance for those in need, including vulnerable children and seniors.
- Bolsters unemployment insurance.
- Protections and relief for small businesses.
- Increased access to telehealth.
Phase 3 – CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides direct financial assistance to the American people, brings relief to small businesses and their employees, takes steps to stabilize the economy and protect industries of national importance, and provides key resources for medical professionals and hospitals as they work to fight and ultimately defeat this virus.
- Direct financial assistance to middle-class Americans providing key immediate relief ($1.2K/individuals, $2.4K/families, $500/child) - more information here.
- Emergency loans and resources available for small businesses so they can keep doors open and pay employees.
- Stabilizes key national industries that will protect jobs and functions important to America’s economy.
- Support for health care workers and hospitals who are fighting this virus.
- Enhances unemployment insurance through July. Also allows self-employed and independent contractors to receive benefits, and extends benefits for an additional 13 weeks.
- Provides funding to state and local governments so they can continue to combat this crisis.
Other actions taken by government entities, including the White House, Congress, and Governor Hutchinson:
- President Trump declaring a national emergency and implementing a whole-of-government response with the Coronavirus Task Force.
- Imposition of travel restrictions on global hotspots including China and Europe.
- Expanded testing access by removing burdensome FDA regulations and granting emergency approval for tests.
- Arkansas approved for Small Business Administration disaster loans.
- The implementation of the Defense Production Act and collaboration with private sector to assist with response efforts.
- Removal of red tape barriers to help further the development of vaccines and therapeutics.