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Marsha Blackburn Report: Safely Re-Opening America

 

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – This week, President Donald Trump appointed a congressional task force to provide counsel on the re-opening of America. Since the day COVID-19 Coronavirus reached our shores, President Donald Trump’s resolve to defeat it has not wavered.

His administration has worked day and night to identify the most effective ways to keep the American people safe, from supplying health care workers with needed equipment to aiding small business owners through a volatile economic period. 

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

These efforts must be complemented by legislative action that will move us through and out of the pandemic.

Last month, I introduced bipartisan legislation to bring critical elements of our drug supply chain back to the United States.

When it became clear that our health care facilities would require as much space as possible to treat COVID-19 Coronavirus, I urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to eliminate regulations and enable the widespread use of telemedicine for routine care. This week, I asked Secretary Esper to identify ways to help service members who may be struggling with their mental health during social distancing. 

This pandemic is affecting Americans of all backgrounds, in every sector, and figuring out how we re-open our country requires a targeted approach. I am grateful that President Donald Trump has selected me to join that effort, and look forward to working with my colleagues to come up with a solution that serves the American people.

Supporting Small Businesses

Our top priority must be helping small businesses. It pains me that the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to support millions of small business owners and workers, has run out of funds. I supported the unanimous consent request from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to provide more funding for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, but Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) objected.

Now is not the time for partisan politics. We must work together in taking issues one at a time, and the single most important issue is getting small businesses the help they need.

Praying For Chattanooga

My heart broke when I woke up to news that yet another tornado struck our state. In Chattanooga, Representative Chuck Fleischmann, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, and I stopped by the Salvation Army to thank first responders and volunteers for their hard work. I continue to pray for all those affected.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Resource Guide

Health Coverage 

  • Have you lost or do you expect to lose your health insurance? You may be eligible to apply for insurance during a Special Enrollment Period. Depending on your income, you may also qualify for a subsidy to reduce the cost of your premium. Click here to see if you qualify. 

Tennessee Employers and Small Businesses 

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans, express bridge loans, and debt relief.
  • The IRS is extending payroll tax credits to eligible small and midsize businesses.
  • Employers, there are new federal paid leave requirements related to COVID-19 Coronavirus. You can learn more here
  • You can find additional SBA resources here.

 


 

Our Tennessee Workforce

  • Have you recently been laid off, or has your paycheck taken a hit? You can file for unemployment insurance and other forms of assistance here.
  • For information on the new federal paid leave requirements related to the coronavirus, click

Our Tennessee Farmers

  • For help navigating the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, including food safety resources, click here.

Our Health Care Workers

  • Are you a volunteer health care worker? The CARES Act includes my Good Samaritan clause to protect volunteers from frivolous lawsuits during this public health emergency.

Federal Taxes and Rebate Checks

  • The IRS has delayed Tax Day until July 15th and is also extending payroll tax credits to eligible small and midsize businesses.
  • If you have not received your recovery rebate check from the IRS, you can now go online to check the status or upload your banking information to expedite delivery.
    • For those who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, click here.
    • For those who are not required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, click here.
    • For those Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns, click here.
  • Please beware of scammers. The IRS will not contact you to request any personal information to receive the economic impact payments or any other benefits associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes retirees, who don’t normally have to file a tax return. No action is required to receive your $1,200 economic impact payment.
  • Seniors will now have automatic access to the Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. Social Security recipients who do not normally file tax returns will not need to file any additional information to receive the payments. Read my letter to the IRS requesting this change here.

Competitive Federal Grants

  • If you have questions regarding how the pandemic will affect federal grant applications and awards, please visit the awarding agency’s website for announcements. You may also reach out to the agency for an extension or with other inquiries. 
  • As always, you can visit my grants webpage to request support for your competitive federal grant application. 

 


 

Education

  • Parents, students and graduates can access educational resources and assistance here

Living or Traveling Abroad 

  • If you are abroad and need assistance from the U.S. State Department, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. You may also call 1.888.407.4747 (U.S. & Canada) or 1. 202.501.4444 (from overseas). Click here for additional travel information. 

The Volunteer Spirit 

  • Looking to help your fellow Tennesseans during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic? TEMA is seeking personal protective equipment (PPE) donations from the private sector. 
  • Click here if you would like to donate, sell, or produce medical supplies and other goods for the federal government.
  • Tennesseans looking for volunteer opportunities can click here

You can access a downloadable version of this resource guide as well as an online version to send to coworkers, friends, and neighbors.

Coronavirus Resources

  • COVID-19 testing sites can be found here.
  • General information about the coronavirus can be found here.
  • Information regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus in Tennessee can be found here.
  • You can call the Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line from 10:00am to 10:00pm CT at 877.857.2945.
  • You’re not alone, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1.800.273.8255.
  • Information for cleaning and disinfecting your home when someone is sick can be found here

Marsha’s Roundup

  • As we push forward in the war against COVID-19 Coronavirus, we must leverage American pharmaceutical innovation as a weapon against these threats to our supply chain. Read my op-ed to learn about my efforts to bring drug supply manufacturing back to the US.
  • China expert Gordon Chang moderated a virtual panel with myself and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) to discuss our bipartisan efforts to hold the Chinese government responsible for its abject failure to be forthright about the severity of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

 


Tornado Recovery Updates, 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 cleanup 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

Facebook: facebook.com/marshablackburn
Twitter: @MarshaBlackburn
Instagram: @MarshaBlackburn

My Best, 

 
Marsha


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