Politics & Elections

Larsen votes for COVID-19 relief to Washington’s businesses and hospitals, and increased testing

By Joseph Tutino | Office of Rick Larsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On April 23, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted for critical emergency COVID-19 relief funding for Washington state’s small businesses, hospitals and testing. The bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 388-5.

“I understand the impact COVID-19 and essential social distancing measures continue to have on Washingtonians. This bipartisan bill delivers further relief for small businesses, including businesses in underserved communities, to retain workforce and keep the lights on. The legislation includes increased support for frontline hospitals and health workers to get the equipment needed to fight COVID-19 and stay healthy. It also boosts funding for testing which is critical to helping ensure Washingtonians can safely get back to work and resume their daily lives.”

“This bill is a necessary next step to protect Washingtonians’ health, safety and economic security, but it will not be the last. I will continue to work with local officials and Washington state’s congressional delegation to fight for critical COVID-19 relief.

“Washingtonians can and will get through this difficult time together. I want to acknowledge and thank the hardworking frontline nurses, doctors, health care professionals and first responders, who are working tirelessly to save lives. I also want to recognize the grocery store workers, maintenance professionals, transit operators and others for your essential work.”

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act:

  • Strengthens the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $310 billion in additional funding, including $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for medium-sized banks and credit unions to ensure assistance reaches more small businesses.
  • Secures an additional $50 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).
  • Expands Department of Health and Human Services’ pandemic relief fund for health care providers by $75 billion to provide resources and support to frontline hospitals and workers. 
  • Lowers the interest rate on advance payments, lengthening the repayment schedule and distributing payments from general revenues not the Hospital Insurance Fund.
  • Secures $25 billion for testing, including more direct funding to states, community health centers and rural health clinics to help frontline workers stay healthy and get the resources needed to combat COVID-19.
  • Requires the administration to develop a national strategic testing policy that will focus on increasing domestic testing capacity including testing supplies.

Larsen also voted for a resolution to establish a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to ensure congressional oversight of COVID-19 relief funding and spending. The resolution passed the House by a vote of 212-182.

For text of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, click here.

For text of H. Res. 935, click here.

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