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Coronavirus Updates

July 20, 2020

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COVID-19 RESOURCES

For the most up to date information and resources, visit the following:

Learn more about the coronavirus emergency relief packages passed by Congress and signed into law:

HOW THE CARES ACT HELPS SMALL BUSINESSES

If you're a small business with 500 employees or less, how does the emergency relief package or the CARES Act help you keep your doors open and your employees on the payroll?

The CARES Act:

  • Provides $377 billion in emergency relief for small businesses, including restaurants, bars, hardware stores, and nail salons, as well as those who are sole proprietors or self-employed.
  • Allows 8-weeks of loan forgiveness for expenses that include payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities.
  • Takes meaningful steps to quickly get liquidity to businesses in order to stabilize our economy and protect jobs in Texas and across the country.

HOW TO APPLY FOR SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF

Small businesses can apply for this emergency relief through the Small Business Administration (SBA) at their community bank. A short summary of the SBA loans are below:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program : Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program : Allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.

The Senate Small Businesses Committee has also developed a small business owners guide to the CARES Act here and has answered FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program here. For more information on resources available to small businesses, visit the SBA's site here.

CLICK HERE for additional resources for small businesses.

#COMBATCOVID19CHALLENGE

The #CombatCOVID19Challenge is a social media challenge launched by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) to encourage Americans to continue supporting their communities as we all work to combat this pandemic and ultimately defeat it together. Sen. Cruz kicked off the challenge by delivering food to the Houston Police Officers' Union. In his video, he challenged former Texas Governor and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale.

For more information on how to participate in Sens. Cruz and Gillibrand's #CombatCOVID19Challenge, click here.

#COMBATCOVID19CHALLENGE IN THE NEWS

STEPS SEN. CRUZ IS TAKING TO COMBAT COVID-19

Sen. Cruz is working with federal, state, and local officials and business and community leaders to curb the spread of the coronavirus, protect public health, and take steps to help Texans return to work and get our economy moving again.

  • Introduced the Helping Parents Educate Children During the Coronavirus Pandemic Act to better equip all students—public, private, or home school—to receive the education they need during the pandemic.
  • Sent a letter with John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar requesting the federal government provide additional financial support and stand up a field hospital to help respond to the COVID-19 surge in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • Introduced with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) the Loan Interest Forgiveness for Taxpayers Under a Pandemic (LIFT UP) Act, legislation that would expand the eligibility for debt forgiveness provided in the CARES Act to small businesses that received Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans. 
  • Applauded the administration's decision to extend federal support for Community-Based Testing Sites in Texas for two weeks by heeding Sen. Cruz’s concerns expressed in his letter issued with Sen. John Cornyn.
  • Sent a letter with Sen. John Cornyn to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Pete Gaynor urging for continued federal support for Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) sites in Texas as testing capacity remains a crucial component to defeating COVID-19, strengthening the economy, and safely getting Texans back to work. 
  • Introduced a bill with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) that will expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to local chambers of commerce, which provide valuable resources to small businesses across the country, as well as Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), which play an important role in creating a vibrant tourism industry.
  • Introduced the Equal Access to Care Act, legislation to expand access to telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency period by allowing licensed health care providers to treat patients over the phone and online wherever the patient is located.
  • Introduced the Work Safe Act, legislation that would provide tax credits to businesses that test employees for COVID-19 every week in states where the infection rates are above the national average.
  • Sent a letter with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Josh Hawley( R-Mo.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to President Donald Trump urging him to extend and expand his April 22, 2020 Proclamation on immigration to suspend all new guest worker visas for sixty days, and to suspend certain categories of new guest worker visas for at least the next year, or until unemployment has returned to normal levels.
  • Announced his intention to introduce legislation to ensure chambers have access to emergency relief funding provided under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  • Sent a letter with Sens. Rick Scott, Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to President Donald Trump urging the Administration to reject states' efforts to receive taxpayer dollars for non-coronavirus related expenses, particularly bailouts for underfunded pension plans.
  • Urged Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate state and local officials who are targeting and discriminating against religious communities under the guise of protecting public health.
  • Sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urging them to ensure America's small and independent oil and gas producers have critical access to capital to keep their wells operational, their doors open, and their employees on payroll. 
  • Joined Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary Mnuchin, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urging them to make credit facilities accessible to domestic energy producers.
  • Sent a letter with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Senate colleagues expressing concerns to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on COVID-19’s impact on developing countries and the potential geopolitical implications of relief efforts enabling China's debt-trap diplomacy.
  • Renewed call for Congress to take swift actions to take up and pass the RESULTs for Coronavirus Patients Act to allow for the FDA's approval of drugs, devices, and other medical therapies already approved in other trusted countries, increasing access to life-saving innovations for Americans.
  • Voted in favor of additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide much-needed Small Business relief.
  • Sent a letter to Jovita Carranza, Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA), requesting access for Chambers of Commerce and other 501(c)(6) organizations to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) once it's replenished.
  • Completed week two of his statewide tele-tour across 27 cities to connect with communities combatting COVID-19 and the economic devastation that has followed.
  • Joined President Trump's bipartisan task force to re-open the economy as the nation continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Announced with Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) bipartisan legislation to enhance partnerships between companies in the United States and Israel – an ally and a global leader in medicine – to develop innovative medical projects aimed at detecting, treating, and curing COVID-19 and lessen U.S. dependence on China.
  • Announced his intention to introduce two pieces of legislation, the Equal Access to Care Act and the the Right to Test Act, when Congress returns to expand healthcare access and make testing more accessible and widely available.
  • Announced intentions to introduce the "Ending Chinese Medical Censorship and Cover Ups Act of 2020," legislation to sanction Chinese officials involved in the ongoing suppression of medical experts, journalists, and political dissidents, amid Chinese censorship of its citizens that is helping to fuel the global pandemic of the coronavirus.
  • Connected with communities in Central, Southeast, and East Texas who are on the frontlines combatting COVID-19 as a part of the first week of his virtual statewide tele-tour across the Lone Star State.
  • Vowed to hold Chinese officials accountable for their culpability in allowing the coronavirus to become a global pandemic and endangering millions of lives around the world.
  • Launched a virtual statewide tour to connect with men and women and small business owners across the Lone Start State working on the front lines to help Texas combat COVID-19
  • Sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to procure and distribute serological tests from the Strategic National Stockpile to help determine whether an individual has previously contracted and recovered from the coronavirus and enable more Americans to safely return to work.
  • Met with President Donald Trump, members of Congress, and business leaders to protect millions of energy jobs at risk as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Sent a letter to Jovita Carranza, Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA), expressing concerns about how the Payroll Protection Program of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is being administered in a way that undermines existing protections for religious organizations.
  • Voted in favor of the third coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security Act.
  • Delivered remarks on the Senate floor where he called on his colleagues to address this public health crisis and deliver real relief for the American people.
  • Sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar urging him to use the Defense Production Act to immediately order the production and distribution of ventilators, which are critical to treating individuals infected by COVID-19.
  • Introduced legislation to increase healthcare capacity and access and speed up FDA approval for certain vaccines and cures that could prevent or treat COVID-19.
  • Voted in favor of the second coronavirus relief package .
  • Called on federal officials to take four immediate, concrete steps to help curb COVID-19 and ultimately defeat it.
  • Introduced the RESULTs for Coronavirus Patients Act , which would fast-track approval for certain drugs and devices to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Voted in favor of the $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to assist in the United States’ efforts to contain the spread and prevent further outbreaks.
  • Convened a hearing examining the role of the aviation industry in reducing the spread of coronavirus with officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Sent a letter with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to get answers about the incident in San Antonio , when an individual was released from isolation at Lackland, despite testing positive for the coronavirus.
  • Held a bipartisan briefing for members of the Commerce Committee to hear from officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the World Health Organization (WHO) about how the U.S. government is working with other countries on a coordinated, global response, to this public health crisis and what more Congress can do to prevent further outbreaks.
  • As news of the coronavirus outbreak broke, called for a travel ban to and from China, as well as advanced screenings at U.S. airports .

ADDITIONAL EFFORTS

  • Applauded a federal judge's ruling that Mayor De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have violated the Constitution, and struck down coronavirus lockdown orders that have prevented outdoor and indoor religious activity. This reprimand follows Sen. Cruz’s letter urging AG Barr and the DOJ to investigate local officials abusing power and unlawfully engaging in religious discrimination.
  • Introduced the Cut Profits to the Cuban Regime Act, which will require the Department of State to publish the list of countries that contract with the Cuban regime for their abusive and coercive medical missions program, and to consider that a factor on their ranking in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report. 
  • Co-sponsored bipartisan bill, the Safeguarding America's First Responders Act (SAFR), which clarifies the certification requirements for survivor benefits under the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program to account for the unique challenges presented by the pandemic
  • Joined Sen. Cornyn and Senate colleagues in a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Acting Director Regina Lombardo encouraging them to protect peoples' Second Amendment rights during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Joined Sens. Cornyn, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to engage with the Mexican government in efforts to coordinate the designation of essential businesses in order to avoid disruptions in the U.S.-Mexico supply chain.
  • Joined Sen. Cramer and a group of 16 senators in a letter urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, to protect Second Amendment-related industries from discrimination by financial institutions.
  • Joined Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) in sending a letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres requesting that the UN convene an independent panel of experts to conduct a review of the World Health Organization's (WHO) response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
  • Joined Sen. Cornyn and 26 Senate Republican colleagues in a letter expressing support for Attorney General William Barr's efforts to prioritize public safety as the Department of Justice seeks to address the consequences of the coronavirus in federal prisons.
  • Joined Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and colleagues in a letter to President Trump urging him to work with our allies and partners such as Japan, South Korea, and European nations to pursue an open and transparent investigation into the origins of COVID-19, as well as the WHO's decision-making related to the crisis.
  • Sent a letter with Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and 33 Senate colleagues to President Trump urging the Administration to maintain pro-life protections during the search for treatments and cures for COVID-19
  • Joined Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and colleagues in sendingletter to Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, and Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to thank them for the recently issued interim final rule on protections for faith-based entities during the continued rollout of the CARES Act and related federal economic relief.
  • Joined Sen. Cramer and Senate colleagues in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urging them to keep the financial assistance authorized by the CARES Act industry neutral and free of bias.
  • Sent a letter with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Senate colleagues to President Trump applauding the administration's recent decision to include firearm retailers and manufacturers in the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advisory memo to states and localities regarding America's essential critical infrastructure workforce.
  • Sent a letter with Sen. Cornyn, and Senate colleagues to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressing opposition to the appointment of Minister of the Chinese Mission in Geneva Jiang Duan to the United Nations Human Rights Council Consultative Group because of the Chinese government's decision to deceive the international community about the grave dangers of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Sent a letter to President Trump with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) urging for the President to support Governor Abbott's request for a major disaster declaration for COVID-19.
  • Sent a letter to President Trump with Sen. Cornyn urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work closely with State of Texas emergency management officials and the SBA to increase awareness of the many financial tools available to assist Texans experiencing the economic impact of the coronavirus.
  • Sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) calling for a single government-implemented online webform that would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to directly collect complete, accurate, and timely data to trace infected or exposed travelers.
  • Sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Cornyn requesting information on the agency's readiness to prevent the transmission of coronavirus across American ports of entry.
  • Participated in a roundtable discussion with the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association and commended their efforts to contain the coronavirus.
  • Sent a letter to the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) calling for Taiwan to be fully included in the international response to coronavirus.
  • Joined Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and other members in sending a letter to the World Health Organization concerning Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Organization.

updateS FROM SEN. CRUZ

To read Sen. Cruz’s COVID-19 newsletters, click here.

IN THE NEWS: SEN. CRUZ ON CORONAVIRUS

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • The Red Cross has experienced blood donation shortages due to the outbreak. Sign up to give blood here.
  • The Central Texas Food Bank has asked for donations while they experience a dramatic increase in the need for resources. Find out more information on how to get involved or volunteer here.
  • The Salvation Army is seeking donations for cleaning supplies. Find out more on how you can help the Salvation Army here.

TEXANS HELPING TEXANS

Sen. Cruz highlighted Texas' communities and businesses working together in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Cruz also released a new video, ‘Together, We Will #CombatCOVID19,' highlighting Texans' acts of heroism and kindness in the face of this crisis.

Texans Providing Meals:

Texans Supporting First Responders:

  • Magnolia Pharmacy in Magnolia, is set to produce and distribute free, non-commercial, compound hand sanitizer to first responders.
  • Mighty Fine Burgers in Austin offered free meals to first responders.

Texans Serving Their Community:

  • A San Antonio native raised $10,000 online to help those who posted screenshots of their student-loan statements and past-due medical bills.
  • H-E-B donated $3 million to non-profits around Texas to help support the community.
  • Austin Energy has announced it will suspend shutting off utilities due to unpaid bills.
  • Brookshire's the Texas based grocery store has dedicated the first hour of operation, a five percent daily discount, and free curbside to seniors in the community.
  • La Familia Cortez, owners of the popular restaurant, Mi Tierra, in San Antonio, opened up a drive-up shop for locals to come and buy the essentials.

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