ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

The Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has accelerated into a global pandemic - affecting health, businesses, careers, and family plans of nearly every American. As your Member of Congress one of my highest priorities is to help keep you informed and ensure every resource available at the Federal level is accessible to First District constituents.

There are currently atleast 3.6 million reported cases world-wide, and nearly 70,000 deaths in the United States.

As part of President Trump’s Guidelines for Opening Up American Again, CMS issued recommendations to re-open the health care system in areas with low incidence of COVID-19.


IMPORTANT UPDATE

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.

The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.

Click here to view the application and instructions.


INFORMATION FROM THE CDC

Learn more about the virus, how to protect yourself, and how to prevent the spread:

The Center for Disease Controls and Prevention has provided a “Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions” page, which can be found HERE.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Information:

Website: cdc.gov/coronavirus or coronavirus.gov
Twitter: @CDCGov
Facebook: @CDC

SMALL BUSINESS HELP


UPDATE: On April 23rd, 2020, Congressman Bergman voted in support of 
H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Rep. Bergman spoke on the House floor in support of the bill and highlighted the specific needs of rural small businesses and health care providers. This bill will appropriates more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

Read more HERE.

For more information about the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, visit the Small Business Administration resource page HERE.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. 

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020. 

For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has posted additional Questions and Answers regarding implementation of certain provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

SEASONAL BUSINESSES

In response to advocacy efforts from Rep. Bergman on behalf of seasonal businesses impacted by the Coronavirus, the Department of Treasury and SBA issued new guidance providing additional flexibility for seasonal small businesses.  The calculation for the maximum loan available through the Paycheck Protection Program has been modified to accommodate businesses whose seasons begin later in the Spring/Summer.

Effective immediately on April 27, 2020, the PPP loan calculation can now be based on the payroll average from a consecutive 12-week period between May 1, 2019 – September 15, 2019.  Previously, all loan calculations were based on a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019, or at the election of the eligible borrower, March 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2019. 

Please read the full interim rule HERE.  



HELP FOR VETERANS

For the latest updates from the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, visit www.ironmountain.va.gov.

For the latest updates from the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, visit www.saginaw.va.gov.

Quick Resources:

What Should Veterans Do?

Veterans with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to contact VA before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility or call call MyVA311(844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected).  Alternatively, Veterans can sign into My HealthVet to send secure messages to their VA providers or use telehealth options to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.

Upon arriving at VA, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff. A VA health care professional will assist you with next steps once this screening process is complete.

At this time, VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to please postpone their visits to VA facilities.

HELP FOR OLDER ADULTS

In addition to the practices outlined by the CDC, older Americans are uniquely at risk from Coronavirus and have specific needs that should be addressed.

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) recommends that older adults:

  • Stay in touch with others by phone and email so you can ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, or community health workers if necessary;

  • Determine who can provide for you with care if your caregiver becomes ill;

  • Consider using a mail-order pharmacy to fill routine prescriptions;

  • Have extra over-the-counter medicines, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, and food on hand should you become sick.

More information from MDHHS can be found at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus

Protect Yourself From Scammers

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact the United States, phone scammers have seized the opportunity to prey on consumers.

The federal government is offering expanded financial assistance to Americans as we work to defeat the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, scammers don’t sleep – even in the face of a global pandemic.

To help taxpayers avoid falling victim to one of these scams, multiple federal agencies – from the Internal Revenue ServiceDepartment of Health and Human Services, to the Social Security Administration – have issued warnings. Here are some common red flags to look for, courtesy of the IRS:

Scammers May:

  • Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” Those are incorrect. The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

The FCC Offers The Following Tips to Avoid Scammers:

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  • Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  • Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.  Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
  • Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked.
  • Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating

Read more HERE.

LEGISLATION SUPPORTED

 PHASE ONE 

On March 4, 2019, Rep. Bergman voted in favor of H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Package, which provides $8.3 billion in emergency spending for response to the Coronavirus. This money will go towards expediting vaccine development, purchasing essential testing equipment and supplies, and coordinating extensively with healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. It also includes measures to expand access to telehealth services and ensure future vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 are affordable.

For information on the legislation passed March 4th, please click HERE.

 PHASE TWO 

On March 14, Congress passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a second emergency supplemental funding bill to provide further assistance to those who have been directly affected by the Coronavirus and its economic impact. This legislation provides for free testing, makes good on President Trump’s promise to provide financial assistance for working Americans who are “ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to Coronavirus,” protects seniors and those with severe medical conditions by ensuring the Social Security Administration is not running a new paid leave program for those affected by COVID-19, and ensures the health provisions are targeted to COVID-19 without including unrelated treatments, ensuring Hyde protections remain intact.

For more information on the legislation passed on March 14th, please click HERE.

 PHASE THREE 

On March 27, Congress passed the CARES Act, providing essential, targeted, and temporary action for First District families, rural health care providers, small businesses, self-employed workers, and non-profit organizations.

The CARES Act includes major provisions to:

  • Provide grants and loans to small businesses to meet payroll and pay rent;
  • Send direct checks to First District constituents of up to $1,200 individually, plus $500 per child;
  • Rush resources to rural hospitals, doctors and other front line providers;
  • Expand the use of telehealth medicine to diagnose and treat patients in a safer and faster environment;
  • Temporarily expand unemployment insurance to provide a lifeline for those who have lost their jobs;
  • Allow regulatory relief so banks can grant loan forbearance for otherwise healthy businesses struggling while business has been shut down;
  • Provide Treasury and the Fed the ability to provide several trillion in assistance to distressed industries, including airlines, through guaranteed loans while also including strong accountability protections;
  • Provide liability protection for providers who volunteer (Good Samaritan);
  • Allow HSAs to be used to purchase over-the-counter medicines;
  • Extend expiring health extenders to November;
  • Inject key funds to care for Veterans and their families;
  • Build out broadband infrastructure and telehealth capabilities in rural and remote areas; and
  • Assist impacted growers, farmers, and ranchers.
Read more HERE.


 ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION 

On March 23rd, Congressman Bergman introduced legislation (H.R. 6335) to stop IRS tax penalties on Seniors who do not make a required minimum distribution (RMD) from their qualified out of their tax-deferred retirement savings plans in 2020. Read more HERE.

Congressman Bergman is also a cosponsor of H.R. 6365, the Immediate Relief for Rural Facilities and Providers Act of 2020. Many of the rural and remote hospitals and health centers throughout Michigan’s First District are facing financial crises as costs to address the epidemic rise while revenue from elective surgeries and non-emergency clinical visits plummet. This legislation will protect these essential healthcare centers by providing emergency one-time grants to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural Prospective Payment System (PPS) hospitals to account for lost revenue during the crisis. It would also increase Medicare reimbursement for certain services and allow the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to providers and ambulatory surgery centers during the crisis.

On March 21, President Trump signed into law a bill cosponsored by Rep. Bergman to protect Veterans' GI Bill benefits during the Coronavirus. This legislation will give the VA Secretary authority to maintain normal payments for Veterans and family members to ensure their current GI Bill payment rates are not negatively affected by the sudden shift to online classes. Read more HERE

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

State Resources:

    Federal Unemployment Guidance:

    Health Care Guidance:

    COBRA

    Federal HealthCare.Gov Marketplace

    Schools and Daycare

    First Responders

    Churches

    Students

    Additional Information:

    CARES Summary of Health, Tax, Unemployment, Small Business, and Distressed Industries Provisions

    CARES Act Small Business Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program and Loan Forgiveness

    CARES Act - Detailed Funding Summary

    CARES Act - Appropriations Highlights

    CARES Act Education and Labor Provisions

    CARES Act Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Related Provisions

    CARES Act - Jobs & Economic Importance of U.S. Infrastructure Network

    CARES Frequently Asked Transportation Questions

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