News from Representative Luria

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Dear Friend,

During this difficult time, my team and I remain dedicated to serving Coastal Virginians. Over the last week, I have voiced the concerns of our veterans, small businesses, and localities during this public health crisis. Scroll down for a recap.


Lowering Prescription Drug Costs for TRICARE Beneficiaries During COVID-19


On Monday, I led a bipartisan initiative calling on Congressional leadership to temporarily eliminate copays on mail order prescription drugs for TRICARE beneficiaries. I am honored that this effort earned the support of over 50 of my colleagues as well as 13 veteran service organizations.

TRICARE beneficiaries pay a $10 copay for a 90-day supply of generic prescription drugs and $29 for name-brand drugs. However, beneficiaries who pick up their prescriptions at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) do not pay copays. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some installation commanders suspended installation access for retirees and survivors to protect mission-critical personnel. As a result, many TRICARE beneficiaries can no longer access MTF pharmacies and must transfer their prescriptions to mail order of retail pharmacies. The copays on mail order drugs can be an unexpected financial burden for veterans and their families.

By temporarily eliminating the copay on mail order prescriptions, we can ensure that TRICARE beneficiaries can access their medicine without endangering themselves or others. During the COVID-19 crisis, it is vital to practice social distancing and protect our military families and mission critical personnel at military treatment facilities. That is why I called on Congressional leadership to include this commonsense provision in future coronavirus relief legislation.


Advocating for Local Small Businesses


As a former small business owner, I share the frustration felt by small business owners across Hampton Roads who are relying on relief programs to weather the COVID-19 crisis. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) issue-plagued rollout of relief programs is unacceptable when businesses need loans now. That is why I wrote a letter demanding answers from the SBA regarding its problematic rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program.

In March, I supported the CARES Act, which established the Paycheck Protection Program. This provides small businesses and nonprofits with forgivable loans to cover payroll and other costs over an eight-week period. Unfortunately, the execution of this program has been problematic.

Local business owners are experiencing difficulties in applying for and receiving the loan. Also, banks must contend with confusing and constantly changing guidelines. As a result, business owners are experiencing delays in receiving their loans at a time when every day counts.

Small businesses employ 115,000 Coastal Virginians and are the backbone of our regional economy. For the sake of our economy and the livelihoods of countless Americans, the SBA must identify and correct these problems immediately.


Announcing Our Small Business Hotline


As our community faces the economic hardships caused by this unprecedented public health emergency, my office stands ready to assist small businesses seeking economic relief. That’s why our office opened a dedicated Small Business Hotline to assist Coastal Virginians who have questions about the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program. By dialing 757-364-7632, you will be put in direct contact with a member of my team who specializes in small business assistance and economic relief programs under the CARES Act.


Supporting Coastal Virginia’s Localities


Throughout this national public health and economic crisis, I have been meeting with local county and city officials. These meetings and discussions have allowed me to hear their concerns and ensure we work together to best serve constituents. While the CARES Act was a necessary step, our localities are still suffering. That is why I am joining bipartisan and bicameral efforts to help localities with fewer than 500,000 residents receive more direct assistance in the next relief package.

I cosponsored the Coronavirus Community Relief Act (H.R. 6467). This bipartisan would provide $250 billion to governments of localities with populations under 500,000. In Coastal Virginia, this includes cities like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and Williamsburg.

Also, I joined Virginia Congressional Delegation colleagues in writing a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin to advocate for increased flexibility for state and local governments in utilizing federal funding. I signed another letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging leadership to include support for smaller localities in the future Coronavirus relief legislation.

 

In the News

Please know that during this trying time, my team and I stand ready to serve our community. For helpful resources to help you and your family navigate through this public health emergency, please see here. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our offices via the numbers below.

Sincerely,

 

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