WASHINGTON—After hundreds of video conference calls, phone conversations, and socially-distanced meetings with Texans over the past few months, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following information about the new COVID-19 relief bill – the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act – announced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

How the HEALS Act helps Texans:

Supports Texas workers and their jobs:

Extends an added federal unemployment insurance benefit for Texans out of work

Provides $1,200 direct assistance payments to Texans earning less than $75,000 annually

Extends employee retention tax credit to help stabilize Texas jobs

Adds $90 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, in addition to the more than $130 billion still remaining in the program

Expands the Paycheck Protection Program to include Main Street advocates and 501(c)(6)s

Supports educators and students at all levels:

Extends student loan deferment program from CARES Act

Provides $70 billion in federal funding for K-12 schools

Provides $29 billion in direct funds for higher education

Provides $5 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund

Supports our health care workers in fighting the coronavirus:

Provides an additional $25 billion for healthcare provider relief fund

Adds $16 billion for testing, contact tracing, and surveillance, on top of $9 billion still available from previous bills

Adds $26 billion for vaccine development

Adds $15.5 billion to NIH for research

Appropriates $4.5 billion to care for Americans’ mental health, suicide prevention, and substance use disorder services

Provides $7.6 billion for Community Health Centers

Provides $225 million for rural health clinics

Protects frontline health care workers (as well as charities, educators, and small businesses) following public health guidelines from expensive and timely lawsuits

Cares for our children through the pandemic:

Includes an additional $15 billion for childcare assistance

Cares for foster youth, including kids aging out of the system, with $50 million and increased flexibility in program requirements

Appropriates $10 million for state courts handling child abuse and neglect cases

Aids farmers and ranchers and facilitates the food supply chain:

Adds $20 billion in direct assistance for the agricultural industry and strengthens the farm safety net

Aids state and local governments:

Adds flexibility for state and local governments using CARES Act funds, of which at least 15% must still be passed to downstream governments

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

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