Washington, D.C. – Knowing that more than 3 million Americans lost their jobs last week due to the coronavirus pandemic absolutely breaks my heart. Our small businesses are among the hardest hit–and they make up 99.5% of all companies in our state. Many small business owners have shared with me how their dreams are shattered, through no fault of their own.
This week Congress passed the bipartisan CARES Act to help bridge these next few months. The CARES Act will shore up a foundation for the small business sector and provide relief for our singers and songwriters, rideshare drivers, flight attendants, and so many others. It will also provide our health workers the supplies and financial support to meet the needs of Americans.
In addition to previous legislation Congress passed, including $8.3 billion to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the CARES Act:
- Allocates around $350 billion to help small businesses pay their employees, make rent, and cover their bills. Because of my negotiations with Senators Rubio and Collins, sole proprietors and independent contractors, including songwriters, studio musicians, performers and gig workers are also eligible for assistance.
- Expands telemedicine and rural broadband, enabling folks to access top specialists from around the country.
- Provides emergency grants of up to $10,000 in immediate relief for small businesses to cover operating costs.
- Pauses federal student loan payments for six months to students affected by COVID-19.
- Provides $117 billion for hospitals and veterans’ health care; $45 billion for FEMA disaster relief; $16 billion to acquire masks, gloves and ventilators; and $11 billion to develop vaccines and testing kits.
Holding China Accountable
Chinese officials destroyed early COVID-19 test kits, suppressed information and refused international assistance. The Communist Party is so petrified of the truth that they kicked out journalists and fabricated a story of where the virus originated.
I introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution along with Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Representatives Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), condemning Beijing’s responsibility for this deadly global pandemic. It’s time the Communist Party admits to the serious missteps that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution calls on the Chinese Government to:
- Say there is no evidence that coronavirus (COVID-19) originated anywhere else but China;
- Denounce the baseless conspiracy that the U.S. Army placed COVID-19 in Wuhan;
- Revoke its expulsion of American journalists;
- End its detainment of Uyghur Muslims and other persecuted ethnic minorities; and
- End all forced labor programs.
Over the past month, Tennesseans have been tested. On March 3rd, tornadoes ripped through fifty miles of our state and not three days later, we had our first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19). Through these trying times, our Volunteer spirit has been on full display.
I’ve heard incredible stories of Tennesseans stepping up to serve: our songwriters are hosting virtual concerts, the Tennessee Air National Guard is flying support missions and distillers are producing hand sanitizers. Thank you all for your incredible efforts, especially our health professionals that are working long hours to keep us healthy!
How You Can Help With The Coronavirus Pandemic
- For general information on how you can help respond to the coronavirus pandemic click here.
- To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to .
- If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide details on what you are offering.
- If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response – email .
- If you are a hospital and other companies in need of medical supplies, contact the Tennessee Department of Health and/or Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).
- For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit the Industry Liaison Program.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing sites can be found here.
- General information about the coronavirus can be found here.
- Information regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tennessee can be found here.
- You can call the Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line from 10:00am to 10:00pm CT 877.857.2945
Tornado Recovery Updates and Resources
- The deadline to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance is May 4th, 2020. To register click here or call 800.621.3362.
- If you are located in a disaster declared area (Davidson County, Putnam County, and Wilson County), you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). To apply, click here.
- Benton County, Carroll County, and Smith County are now eligible for public assistance funding for debris clean up and public works projects.
Stay In Touch
As a reminder, you can reach any of my six offices in Tennessee to share a concern or request assistance with a federal agency.
Be sure to follow my work on behalf of Tennesseans on social media: