What The New COVID-19 Relief Bill Could Mean For Texas

WASHINGTON — After hundreds of video conference calls, phone conversations, and socially-distanced meetings with Texans over the past few months, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following information about the new COVID-19 relief bill – the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act – announced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

How the HEALS Act helps Texans

  • Supports Texas workers and their jobs:

Extends an added federal unemployment insurance benefit for Texans out of work

Provides $1,200 direct assistance payments to Texans earning less than $75,000 annually

Extends employee retention tax credit to help stabilize Texas jobs

Adds $90 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, in addition to the more than $130 billion still remaining in the program

Expands the Paycheck Protection Program to include Main Street advocates and 501(c)(6)s

  • Supports educators and students at all levels:

Extends student loan deferment program from CARES Act

Provides $70 billion in federal funding for K-12 schools

Provides $29 billion in direct funds for higher education

Provides $5 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund

  • Supports our health care workers in fighting the coronavirus:

Provides an additional $25 billion for healthcare provider relief fund

Adds $16 billion for testing, contact tracing, and surveillance, on top of $9 billion still available from previous bills

Adds $26 billion for vaccine development

Adds $15.5 billion to NIH for research

Appropriates $4.5 billion to care for Americans’ mental health, suicide prevention, and substance use disorder services

Provides $7.6 billion for Community Health Centers

Provides $225 million for rural health clinics

Protects frontline health care workers (as well as charities, educators, and small businesses) following public health guidelines from expensive and timely lawsuits

  • Cares for our children through the pandemic:

Includes an additional $15 billion for childcare assistance

Cares for foster youth, including kids aging out of the system, with $50 million and increased flexibility in program requirements

Appropriates $10 million for state courts handling child abuse and neglect cases 

  • Aids farmers and ranchers and facilitates the food supply chain:

Adds $20 billion in direct assistance for the agricultural industry and strengthens the farm safety net

  • Aids state and local governments:

Adds flexibility for state and local governments using CARES Act funds, of which at least 15% must still be passed to downstream governments

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