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Wenstrup Statement on Surprise Billing/COVID-19 Relief/Spending Package

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (OH-02) released the following statement after for the combined Surprise Billing, COVID-19 Relief, and Government Spending package:

“We have delivered two safe and effective vaccines so far, which will provide us the ultimate pathway forward to ending the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, and restoring our way of life. However, Americans need economic support now, and this legislation delivers that immediate help, including $325 billion to help the hardest-hit small businesses through reopening and improving the Paycheck Protection Program, another round of cash assistance for workers and families, averaging $2,400 for a family of four, and continued support for Americans who have lost their job during this global pandemic.

“I am also particularly proud to support the provisions that end surprise billing. Patients will no longer receive unexpected bills due to medical procedures or doctor visits. Rather, they will be provided more complete information before having to make health care decisions, will be removed from billing disputes that arise from unplanned or unscheduled care, and will have access to a robust network of doctors who are incentivized to continue seeing patients. Along with the GOP Doctors Caucus, I have championed this issue and fought hard to get it across the finish line.

"Undoubtedly, there are unnecessary provisions in the overall bill. However, our country faces unprecedented circumstances and urgent needs, and I supported this legislation because I know the American people have been counting on us to deliver relief.

"Now, our work begins to ensure that we are better prepared to address our fiscal, medical, and supply chain challenges.”


Highlights Courtesy of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise:

COVID Relief:

·     Extends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and adds deductibility for PPP expenses

oGives businesses experiencing severe revenue reductions an opportunity to apply for a second draw PPP loan

oIncludes 501(c)(6) organizations but excludes unions from eligibility

o$15 billion in funding for entertainment venues, movie theaters, and museums that are experiencing significant revenue loss 

oCodifies federal rules that ensure churches and faith-based organizations are eligible for PPP loans

·     Reopening America

o    $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines that will make the vaccine available at no charge for anyone who needs it

o    $8 billion for vaccine distribution

o    $20 billion to assist states with testing

o    $20 billion distribution from the existing provider relief fund

·     Ends CARES Act emergency powers for the Federal Reserve

oRescinds $429 billion in unused funds provided by the CARES Act for the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending facilities and terminates these facilities to ensure that Democrats cannot use these funds to bail out poorly managed blue states

·     Stimulus checks -- $600 for both adults and dependents with safeguards to prohibit illegal aliens from receiving payment

·     Temporarily extends a number of unemployment programs created by CARES Act that expire Dec. 31, 2020

o    Provide unemployed individuals an additional $300 per week for 10 weeks from December 26, 2020-March 14, 2021

o    Extends and phases-out PUA, which is a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, to March 14 (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021

·     $10 billion for grants to childcare centers to help providers safely reopen

·     $4 billion for substance abuse – significant progress made over the past several years on opioid addiction has been reversed because of the impact of COVID lockdowns

  • $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening for in-person learning that also includes $2.75 billion in designated funds for private K through 12 education
  • $25 billion in temporary and targeted rental assistance for individuals who lost their source of income during the pandemic
    • Extends the eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021
  • $7 billion in broadband funding that includes
    • Nearly $2 billion to replace foreign-manufactured broadband equipment that poses national security threats
    • $300 million to build out rural broadband
    • $250 million for telehealth

·     $45 billion for transportation, including

o    $16 billion for another round of airline employee and contractor payroll support

o    $14 billion for transit

o    $10 billion for highways

o    $2 billion for intercity buses

o    $2 billion for airports

o    $1 billion for Amtrak

·    Increases SNAP benefits by 15% for six months, but does not expand eligibility, and requires the Secretary to issue a report on redemption rate and unexpended balances

  • Provides funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program that serves over 700,000 older Americans monthly
  • $13 billion to support our farmers and agriculture sector
    • Enhances assistance under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support specialty crop, non-specialty crop, livestock, dairy, and poultry producers
    • Gives discretionary authority to the Secretary to support producers of biofuels, producers of organics or value-added products, and timber harvesting and hauling businesses
    • Additional funding is directed to programs that support local producers and new and beginning farmers, dairy producers, dairy processors via reimbursement for donated dairy products, fisheries, textile mills, agricultural research, small and medium-size meat processors, and to state departments of agriculture for farm stress programs