The Senate has so far passed three bills aimed at providing relief to American families and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Many South Dakotans have reached out to ask what these bills mean for them, so we created a page on my website where we’re providing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions: www.rounds.senate.gov/covid19.
Recently, the Senate passed the CARES Act, which was signed into law by President Trump. In this bill, we’ve provided recovery funds that will be sent directly to individuals and families. Everyone who makes $75,000 per year or less will receive $1,200. Families making $150,000 or less will receive $2,400, plus $500 per child. Seniors whose only income is from Social Security will receive this money, too. The same goes for veterans whose only income is a veterans’ disability payment.
Another important provision of the CARES Act is the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program at the Small Business Administration. This provides loans for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, self-employed individuals and certain nonprofits to be used for expenses like payroll and health insurance. We want businesses to use this program to keep their workers employed rather than laying them off. If small businesses that receive loans keep their employees on their payroll, SBA will forgive most of the loans.
The spread of COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis. In order to save lives, the government has asked — and in some cases mandated — social distancing for a period of time. This impacts economic activity, requiring the government to step in and help at a time when Americans are unable to help themselves.
The CARES Act was far from a partisan, corporate bailout for wealthy individuals. It received a unanimous vote of support in the Senate. Every sector of our economy was hit due to the effects of COVID-19, and this legislation seeks to provide immediate relief to avoid long-term, potentially irreversible damage to our economy. Our goal is to limit damage now so our economy can more easily recover when the crisis is over.
South Dakotans with questions about how the CARES Act will impact them are welcome to contact my office or visit our website. We’ll work to make sure you have answers to your questions during this uncertain time.