The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of hardship for so many. Senator Collins’ concern, first and foremost, is for the health and safety of all Americans, and for the long-term well-being of our nation’s economy. Congress has quickly passed a series of bills to help reduce the impact this public health crisis has on our economy.
Most recently, Congress unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to bolster resources for our economy and our communities. The law includes the Paycheck Protection Program, a measure authored by Senator Collins and a bipartisan group of her colleagues, including Senators Rubio of Florida, Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Cardin of Maryland, which provides $350 billion in forgivable small business loans to help reduce the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and help keep Americans employed. The stimulus package also includes a new law authored by Senator Collins to prevent shortages of critical medications and another to eliminate red tape so medical professionals can meet the home care needs of patients, without delay.
The new law:
- targets health care providers on the frontlines of the epidemic;
- reinforces the connection between small businesses and their valued employees;
- supports job retention for employees of larger businesses;
- and provides relief for our school districts, colleges and universities as they struggle to adapt to the new ‘normal’.
Here are some of the highlights:
Support for Medical Professionals
- $130 billion for hospitals;
- $11 billion for COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development;
- $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and
- $16 billion to purchase medical supplies and PPEs for the Strategic National Stockpile.
Support for Maine Employees and Businesses
- Provides 100 percent federally guaranteed emergency loans to cover eight weeks of expenses including payroll and other business-related expenses for small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits and other qualifying small employers;
- Encourages small employers to hire back their staff, and maintain payroll for at least eight weeks by offering to forgive 100 percent of the emergency loan at the end of the term, as long as the workforce was kept whole;
- Eases pressure on the overburdened unemployment system;
- Makes it easier for businesses to reopen once the threat has passed; and
- Provides emergency loans to avoid layoffs for certain larger businesses (Unlike the small business loans, these loans require full payback).
Support for Maine Schools and Students
- $30 billion to deal with unexpected expenses related to COVID-19 including the adoption of remote learning; direct support for students in colleges facing urgent need; and costs associated with meal delivery programs to provide meals to low-income students.
Looking for help?
Click below to get answers about the support available to Mainers during this crisis:
Am I getting a check?
Congress authorized direct payments of up to $1200 per individual and $2400 per couple, with certain restrictions. Click here to learn more, and determine your eligibility >>
What can I do if I've been laid off?
Congress has authorized an increase in benefits and broader eligibility for unemployment benefits. Click here to learn about the benefits available through Maine's unemployment program, and how to apply >>
How do I apply for small business relief loans?
The Paycheck Protection Program offers 100% loan forgiveness for up to eight weeks to eligible small employers who maintain their workforce during this crisis.
Click here to learn more about the program, and how to apply >>
I'm self-employed, can I apply for loans?
Yes. Sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, including “gig economy” workers, are all eligible. Click here to learn more, and learn how to apply >>
Are nonprofits eligible for relief loans?
Yes. 501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible for the program, with certain restrictions. Click here to learn more, and learn how to apply >>