News from Representative Larson

Dear Friends,

I hope you and your families are well during these difficult times.

As many of you know, Governor Lamont issued an Executive Order initiating Phase I of business reopening in the state on May 20th. Although this order took a step towards opening some sectors of the economy, it’s important to remember that this pandemic is not over and the virus is still actively transmitting.  I urge you to use extreme caution when leaving your home. Wear a mask, keep six feet away from others, and continue to frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Do your part to keep our communities safe.

I’ve been working hard with my colleagues in the House to provide more relief to Americans. While the previous legislation, like the CARES Act, was a good first step, it’s clear more needs to be done. This week we reached a COVID-19 death toll of 100,000 Americans. Unemployment numbers continue to rise. Majority Leader McConnell has questioned whether additional relief-packages are needed. He’s wrong. My office has heard from thousands of constituents. People need help now! The House is acting, it’s time for the Senate to do the same!

House Action:

  • The Heroes Act: Americans need help now to weather the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I voted for the Heroes Act on May 15th to ensure Connecticut, and every state, receives the help they need. If adopted by the Senate and signed into law, the Heroes Act would provide:
    • Much needed funding for our state and local governments to ensure continued employment of our first responders, health workers, teachers, and other public workers serving on the front lines of this pandemic. The state of Connecticut would receive $7 billion and its municipalities, $4 billion.
    • A second and enhanced round of economic stimulus payments of $1,200 per person.
    • An extension of federal Unemployment Insurance programs for workers, through January 2021.
    • Funding for the public health measures needed to safely reopen the economy: testing, tracing, and other activities to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19.
    • Over $48 million in funding to further secure our elections including support for vote by mail and early voting.
    • Institutes a nationwide ban on all evictions and foreclosures for 12 months.
    • Prohibits home energy, water, and internet shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • PPP Flexibility Act: I voted for the bipartisan PPP Flexibility Act on May 28th, which if enacted will increase flexibility and access to Paycheck Protection Program loans by:
    • Allowing loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extending the rehiring deadline;
    • Increasing the current limitation on the use of loan proceeds for nonpayroll expenses from 25 percent to 40 percent;
    • Extending the program from June 30 to December 31;
    • Extending loan terms from two years to five years; and
    • Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans.

We should be doing everything we can to help small businesses through this crisis. This bill is a step in that direction.

 

Ways and Means Committee:

Proposals for the Federal Government’s Response:

  • The Pandemic Essential Supplies Act: To address the shortage of personal protective equipment and prepare for a future vaccine, the United States should utilize the Defense Logistics Agency to take charge of the national supply chain for essential medical goods. The DLA is the Department of Defense’s logistics support agency whose mission is the acquisition, storage and distribution of materials for our military across the nation and around the globe. I’m introducing a bill to grant the DLA necessary authority to perform this role.
  • The Emergency Social Security Benefit Improvement Act: I introduced The Emergency Social Security Benefits Improvement Act to provide a temporary increase in benefits and put money in the hands of people who need it most right now: the elderly, communities of color, women, and people with disabilities. This bill builds on the benefit improvements in the Social Security 2100 Act and would provide an average 2% benefit increase across the board to all Social Security beneficiaries, improve widows’ benefits for lower- and middle- income beneficiaries, and ensure dependent students are qualified for benefits through age 21.
  • The Victory Bonds Act of 2020: In order to give Americans an opportunity to help while social distancing, I introduced the Victory Bonds Act. This bill will create a new class of government savings bonds with all revenue directed to funding the federal government’s public health response to the coronavirus pandemic and support for small businesses.

A list of frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 can be found here.

If you have questions about unemployment benefits, please visit the CT Department of Labor’s website here.

For additional information, please visit my COVID-19 resource page here. And, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email here if you have any questions.

 


Regards,
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John B. Larson
Member of Congress

 

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