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Update on Coronavirus Phase 2 Package

Mar 19, 2020

The Senate voted on March 18 to pass the House's Phase 2 legislation to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. This bill will now be sent to President Trump to sign into law. The Senate did NOT make any further changes to the House version of the bill. The multi-billion-dollar economic aid package will provide new relief measures for American workers. Here is what it includes:

  • Requires private health plans to cover coronavirus testing at no cost, and allocates $1 billion for testing for uninsured Americans.
  • Ensures employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers offer two weeks of paid sick leave. The provision expires at the end of the year.
  • Requires those same kinds of employers to provide up to 3 months of paid family and medical leave for people forced to quarantine due to the virus or care for children or family members because of the outbreak.
  • Offers payroll tax credits for employers providing those leave benefits.
  • Puts $1 billion into emergency state grants for providing unemployment insurance benefits. It includes $500 million for staffing and logistical costs for states, with an additional $500 million reserved for states that see a 10% increase in unemployment.
  • Puts $500 million into food assistance for low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, $400 million into local food banks and $250 million into a senior nutrition program.
  • Suspends the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work requirements for the duration of the crisis.

As promised, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Senate Republicans have fast-tracked negotiations on Phase 3 coronavirus relief legislation. Reports on the Treasury's vision for what could be a $1 trillion package include:

  • $500 billion in cash payments to individual Americans, with phaseouts above certain income limits and linked to income level and family size. Payments would be sent out in two equal amounts, beginning on April 6 and May 18.
  • $300 billion in small business interruption loans.
  • $50 billion in assistance to airlines through a secure lending facility.
  • $150 billion for secured lending or loan guarantees to assist other critical sectors of the economy experiencing financial distress due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As the Administration and Congress begins work on Phase 3, NAEMT is strongly advocating for direct relief for EMS. We will keep you apprised of developments.