News From Congressman Ben Cline
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Sixth District Perspectives
with Congressman Ben Cline

Coronavirus Update

     The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has created both a health crisis and an economic crisis unlike anything since the 1918 Spanish Flu. The chaos and fear that has been sown by this virus has impacted every local community, including those here in our part of Virginia. Since the outbreak in the United States began, Congress has acted swiftly to address the needs of Americans – most recently through the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, Congress must continue to act in a timely manner and ensure that this important resource remains funded and available to assist our small business community.

     As your Representative in Congress, it is my top priority to make sure that you have the information you need to make the best decisions affecting you and your loved ones. In Washington, D.C. and in Richmond, leaders in both the legislative and executive branches of government have been taking action to address the health crisis and support our economy. As such, I wanted to inform you of some updates on the enactment of the programs and benefits created by the CARES Act, as well as provide you with answers to several questions you may have regarding the recent legislation. 

Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans:

     To help small businesses through this crisis, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has two loan programs aimed at helping small businesses survive: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. As I write, more than 1,600,000 loans have been approved for small businesses. Almost $350 billion in loans have been processed, and nearly 4,800 lenders have participated. Unfortunately, demand has exceeded these programs' funding levels, and as of Friday, the SBA has stopped accepting new loan applications for the PPP and EIDL. Senate Republicans have attempted to increase funding for these programs by $250 billion, but Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have blocked its passage and are attempting to include unrelated riders in the bill. This is unacceptable, and to ensure that this vital lifeline remains in place for small businesses, Congress must put people over politics and set partisan games aside. For more information on the PPP, click here to view answers to several Frequently Asked Questions. To learn more about the EIDL, please visit sba.gov/disaster

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Emergency Relief Checks:

     To help individuals stay financially afloat through the lockdowns sweeping the Nation, the CARES Act also provides emergency relief checks to every American, and this week, the IRS has begun the process of distributing them. You can use this portal to check your eligibility and to find out when you will receive your check. As follows, below are several FAQs surrounding these stimulus payments.

Question: Where will the checks be received? If your bank account information is known, will it automatically be deposited there? Who will receive a physical check in the mail?
Answer: Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including (1) individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019, (2) individuals who receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI) or survivor benefits, and (3) individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits. Further, if you have not filed taxes or the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information on file, then you may receive a check in the mail. You do not need to take any action to receive the stimulus payment.

Question: When will the checks arrive?
Answer: The Treasury Department began distributing the checks this week and has said that the vast majority of filers will get their stimulus rebates within the next three weeks.

Question: If someone doesn't normally file taxes, do they receive a check?
Answer: Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 will receive a check, as well as those not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019. Visit irs.gov/coronavirus for more information on non-filer eligibility.

Question: What is the case for senior citizens and Social Security benefits?
Answer: An adult who receives Social Security income can get the full $1,200 stimulus amount, as long as they are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. 

Question: Will the money received be taxed and does it have to be repaid?
Answer: It is not taxed and the money does not have to be repaid.

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     At cline.house.gov/covid-19, you can access further information about the coronavirus pandemic, including administrative, congressional, and state action that has been taken to curb the spread of the virus, resources for businesses, and information from the CDC on how to keep you and your families healthy. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor the situation in Virginia and around the country and work with my colleagues to ensure the full, coordinated force of the federal government is behind our efforts to stop the spread of this disease. 

     If you experience symptoms or have been exposed to someone recently diagnosed with COVID-19, contact your doctor immediately to determine if you need screening.  

Centers for Disease Control Resources:

How to Protect Yourself

Symptoms and Testing

If You Are at Higher Risk

If You Are Sick

Frequently Asked Questions

Follow @CDCgov on Twitter

Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall:

     I invite Sixth District business owners to join me for a Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall this Monday at 2pm. I’ll be joined by Virginia’s SBA Director, Carl Knoblock, and Delegate Chris Runion. While millions of Americans have experienced financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus, small businesses have borne the economic brunt of this pandemic because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. I look forward to discussing the resources being made available by the Federal Government to help keep small businesses solvent during these difficult times and hearing directly from small business owners about the realities they are facing. To participate, register at cline.house.gov/live or dial (855) 933-0825 during the event. 

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Virtual Service Academy Day: 

     For those interested in attending one of our Nation's Service Academies, I'd encourage you to participate in my office's Virtual Service Academy Day this coming Friday from 2pm to 4pm via Microsoft Teams. Students and parents will be provided information on the application, nomination, selection, and appointment processes. Representatives from the various service academies are expected to be present on the video-call to answer questions. While Academy Days are usually held in person, moving this event online will ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. For more information and registration details, please click here

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Blue Ridge Area Food Bank:

     This week, I joined the amazing volunteers at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Verona to help collect supplies for those in need. While I know these are trying times, I’d encourage you to donate to your local food bank if you have extra canned goods. Now more than ever we must support our neighbors. 

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Honoring Our Veterans:

Recently, I had the great honor to present Mr. Talmage Claytor with the medal he earned for his service in World War II. His heroic efforts in the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign serve as a reminder of the sacrifices and selflessness of the Greatest Generation. If you or a veteran you know are having trouble obtaining service medals from the Federal Government, please contact my office. 

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     Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

     For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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