03/29/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/29/2020 12:29
Sunday, March 29, 2020
I wanted to provide you with regular updates on the coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic is developing very quickly, and I know many people have questions and concerns. I will try to answer some of them below.
Congress has acted on three emergency relief bills related to the coronavirus. More on each of them are below.
On Friday, March 27, I voted in support of, and the President signed into law, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act. While the bill is not perfect, it goes a long way in providing immediate economic relief to workers, small businesses and our frontline hospitals and health care workers.
The bill includes:
On March 18, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was signed into law. The legislation creates paid sick and family leave, strengthens food assistance and ensure anyone who gets tested for coronavirus will not charge. For more information, visit here.
On March 6, H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, was signed into law. The legislation provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding to address the coronavirus and protect Americans from this public health crisis. For more information, visit here.
New IRS Filing Season Guidelines: In response to the coronavirus crisis, the IRS has announced it will move the national income tax filing day to July 15, three months after the normal deadline. If you still cannot file a return by that date, you can request an extension by filing out the Form 4868, for an automatic extension until October 15, 2020.
New IRS Information Regarding Coronavirus: The IRS now has a live page on IRS.gov with tips for taxpayers, including information on available assistance due to the impacts of coronavirus.
Foreclosure Freeze: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be granted a two month reprieve from foreclosures. This includes owners of multifamily properties, who will be allowed to fall behind on their mortgages in exchange for not evicting tenants that cannot make their monthly rent due to the coronavirus.
Federal Student Loans: On March 20, the U.S. Department of Education announced students with federally held student loans will not accrue interest for at least 60 days and do not have to make payments on their loans for at least two months. Borrowers can find more information on the U.S. Department of Education's website.
Help for Small Businesses: The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) is providing disaster relief loans of up to $2 million to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives and non-profits that have suffered substantial economic injury from the coronavirus. Visit www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19 or call SBA's national disaster relief line at 1-800-659-2955 for more information. Click here for a FAQ sheet created by the House Small Business Committee for more information about what the House of Representatives is doing to help small businesses.
Water Shutoffs: Last night, Governor Whitmer announced an executive order requiring the reconnection of service to residences that have had water service shut off. A $2 million Water Restart Grant Program will help communities comply with the order. More information can be found here. Communities interested in applying can email [email protected] to learn more.
Medical Professionals Can Volunteer to Combat Coronavirus: Michigan's healthcare system is receiving many new patients due to the spread of coronavirus. The Governor and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), are calling on medical professionals and everyday Michiganders to volunteer their talents and time to save lives. More information can be found here.
Map of Coronavirus Cases in Michigan: An up-to-date map of coronavirus cases in Michigan, provided by the Michigan State Police, can be viewed here.
Stay At Home Order: 'Stay at Home, Say Safe' Order: Effective today through April 13, Governor Whitmer's executive order to all Michigan businesses and operations temporarily suspends in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The executive order has been in effect since midnight Tuesday, March 24.
Help With Consumers Energy Bill: If you are having trouble paying for your Consumers Energy bill, they have set up a webpage to help understand your options. You can also call 1-800-477-5050. If you are a small business, you can call 1-800-805-0490 or can reach out to [email protected]
Unemployment Insurance Benefits: The governor has expanded the criteria for those who can file unemployment benefits. This applies to those out of work caring for family members who are sick or because of school closures; workers who are 'sick, quarantined or immunocompromised' and don't have paid family and medical leave; workers who have been laid off; and first responders who became sick or quarantined. Those eligible for these benefits should apply online at www.Michigan.gov/UIA or call 866-500-0017. I am working with the state and federal government to make sure that everyone has access to these benefits.
Unemployment Offices are Closed: Governor Whitmer has announced Michigan's unemployment insurance agency will stop in-person transactions unless an individual has an appointment to help stem the spread of coronavirus. Those eligible for unemployment benefits should apply online at http://www.michigan.gov/UIA or call 866-500-0017.
K-12 Schools: Governor Whitmer closed all Michigan schools until April 6th. I support her decision to close schools to keep our families safe, but I know that many students depend on schools for nutritious meals. Here is an interactive map where you can find meals for children during school closures.