WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) praised Senate passage Thursday of the bicameral, bipartisan supplemental appropriations package to address the public health emergency of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The package far exceeds the anemic response from the White House and reasserts America’s ability to counter this virus at home and globally.
The supplemental funding from Congress includes direct support for states and local governments, a boost in research for the Maryland-based National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The bill funds efforts to mitigate the current spread of coronavirus by preparing communities, supporting small businesses impacted by the outbreak, and refilling critical health care accounts that had been raided by the Trump Administration in the early response to the coronavirus threat. The supplemental funding bill also includes Senator Cardin’s legislation that allows for greater use of telehealth services during this public health emergency.
“Public health emergencies require a robust, bipartisan and scientific-based response that keeps the American public safe while helping our friends mitigate the threats they and our citizens face abroad. That is exactly what we have developed in the face of the current threat from the novel coronavirus,” said Senator Cardin. “This virus will not miraculously disappear. It will take a coordinated effort at all levels of government, along with the cooperation of the public and private sector, to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. I’m proud to see Marylanders from NIH, Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland and others take the lead in combatting and containing this deadly epidemic.”
Senator Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, added: “While our response to this outbreak is primarily about preserving public health and saving lives, we cannot ignore the economic impact of this virus. Unlike large corporations that have equally large capital reserves to withstand economic downturns, small businesses are particularly vulnerable to sudden disruptions due to their narrow margins. I want to thank my colleagues for including in this bipartisan supplemental $20 million in additional funding to the Small Business Administration to help the agency respond to this crisis. This funding will allow SBA to deploy teams into designated communities nationwide to give small businesses access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans so they can make payroll and stay current on their bills.
“Small businesses preparing for COVID-19 are relying on the advice and expertise of SBA and its resource partners, so I am urging SBA to be proactive in its preparedness outreach. SBA must ensure that its network of resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and the SCORE mentoring program, are prepared to give proper guidance to small businesses. For America’s entrepreneurs, every day their business is impaired by a delayed supply chain or reduced traffic is a day closer to their business closing its doors.”