Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a list of provisions in the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that will be critical to the State of Florida during the coronavirus pandemic. These important provisions include relief to workers, families, and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and state and local lockdowns, including Rubio’s $325 billion small business relief package that includes nearly $285 billion for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help the hardest-hit small businesses.
 
“This past year, Americans all across the country have had their lives, jobs, and communities upended by a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of far too many,” Rubio said. “While I am confident that there are brighter days ahead and that Americans will persevere, it’s clear that people need help right now. Although I believe Congress could have acted much sooner to provide additional relief to the American people, I am grateful that Congress was once again able to act in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner to help workers, families, and small businesses.”
 
The package also extends a number of unemployment provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act until March 14, 2021, that would otherwise expire at the end of the year. Additionally, the COVID-19 relief package includes Rubio and Senator Thom Tillis’s (R-NC) American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act (S.4071) to ensure that a U.S. citizen is eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if he or she is married to a foreign national who is not currently a citizen of the United States.
 
Critical provisions for the State of Florida in the COVID-19 relief package include:
 
Small Businesses: 
  • PPP Second Draw:
    • Authorizes a second draw of PPP loans.
    • Defines eligibility for the PPP second draw as small businesses that have no more than 300 employees and demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. 
    • Establishes a maximum loan size of 2.5X average monthly payroll costs, up to $2 million. 
      • Allows small businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services) to receive PPP second draw loans equal to 3.5X average monthly payroll costs in order to help these businesses combat onerous State and local restrictions.
      • Maintains existing expansions in eligibility for businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services).
    • Borrowers receive full loan forgiveness if they spend at least 60 percent of their PPP second draw loan on payroll costs over a time period of their choosing between 8 weeks and 24 weeks.
    • Affirms the eligibility of churches and religious organizations and prohibits a future administration from making them ineligible. 
      • Preserves the application of affiliation rules to nonprofits, which makes Planned Parenthood ineligible.
  • EIDL:
    • Mitigates fraud by requiring new measures for the SBA to verify eligibility for EIDL Advance grants.  
    • Appropriates $20 million to the SBA Inspector General to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in the Targeted EIDL Advance grant program
  • Live Venues: 
    • Creates a $15 billion grant facility for shuttered venues, theaters, museums, and zoos.
    • Provides enhanced verification and requires increased transparency of SBA’s oversight plans to ensure funds are directly benefiting eligible entities. 
 
Economic Impact Payments: Includes language from the American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act both for eligibility of mixed-status families for the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) worth $600 per person, as well as a retroactive tax rebate for the original CARES Act of $1,200 for adults and $600 per person. Furthermore, the second round of EIPs will be the same for both adults and children, which is consistent with Rubio’s Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act.
 
Unemployment Relief: Extends a number of unemployment provisions in the CARES Act until March 14, 2021. This includes restoring Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments at $300 per week on top of normal benefits; extending and phasing out Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which covers those not eligible for normal UI benefits like the self-employed and gig workers; and extending the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of assistance when state unemployment runs out, as well as other extensions of CARES Act and Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) measures as detailed below.
 
  • Extension and Phaseout for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to March 14, 2021 and allows individuals receiving benefits as of March 14, 2021 to continue through April 5, 2021, as long as the individual has not reached the maximum number of weeks.
    • Increases the number of weeks of benefits an individual may claim from 39 to 50. 
    • Provides for appeals to be at the state level. 
    • Includes a Rubio provision that provides states authority to waive overpayments made without fault on the part of the individual or when such repayment would violate equity and good conscience.
  • Extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
    • Restores the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplement to all state and federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week, starting after December 26 and ending March 14, 2021. 
  • Extension and Phaseout for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • Extends Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) to March 14, 2021 and allows individuals receiving benefits as of March 14, 2021 to continue through April 5, 2021, as long as the individual has not reached the maximum number of weeks. 
    • Increases the number of weeks of benefits an individual may claim through the PEUC program from 13 to 24. 
    • Provides rules for states about sequencing these benefits with other unemployment benefits. 
  • Extension of Temporary Financing of Short-Time Compensation Payments
    • Extends through March 14, 2021 the CARES Act provision which provided temporary federal financing for state Short-Time Compensation (“worksharing”) programs 
  • Extension of Temporary Assistance for States with Advances 
    • Extends through March 14, 2021 accumulation of interest on federal loans states have taken in order to pay state unemployment benefits. The loans allow states with low balances in their unemployment trust funds to delay employer tax increases or other employer surcharges while the economy is struggling. 
  • Extension of Full Federal Funding of Extended Unemployment Compensation
    • Extends through March 14, 2021 the provision in FFCRA which provided temporary full federal financing of Extended Benefits (EB) for high-unemployment states. States are normally required to pay 50 percent of the cost of EB, which is a program in permanent law. 
  • Requirement to Substantiate Employment or Self-Employment Confirm Eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • Effective January 31, 2021, requires new applicants for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to submit documentation to substantiate employment or self-employment within 21 days, and current recipients within 90 days (instead of the current requirement to merely self-certify). Provides for such deadline to be extended when an individual has shown good cause. 
  • Requirement for States to Verify Identity of Applicants for PUA
    • Requires states to have procedures in place to verify or validate the identity of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applicants, and for timely payment of benefits. 
  • Return to Work Reporting for CARES Act Agreements
    • Requires states to have methods in place to address situations when claimants of unemployment compensation refuse to return to work or refuse to accept an offer of suitable work without good cause.
 
Nutrition:
  • Increases SNAP’s monthly benefits for 6-months and requires a report on redemption rates during the period of increased benefits. 
  • Temporarily suspends work requirements for SNAP-eligible college students while work-study programs may not be operating during the COVID emergency. 
  • Provides $100 million in FY21 for state SNAP agency administrative costs to process increased SNAP applications and implement COVID emergency measures. 
  • Provides $614 million for nutrition assistance grants to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 
  • Provides additional $400 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
  • Provides additional $13 million for Commodity Supplemental Food Program. 
  • Clarifies “Pandemic EBT” covers each child under 6-years old in SNAP households where a local school or covered daycare has been closed or has reduced hours. 
  • Partially (55%) reimburses school food authorities and covered daycare centers for costs incurred during sudden COVID-19 emergency school closures in spring 2020. 
  • Provides additional $175 million for Older Americans Act “Meals on Wheels” Nutrition Services and extends certain nutrition flexibilities.
 
Healthcare:
  • The relief package includes $22.5 billion for testing and contact tracing for states, localities, territories, and tribes, including a $2.5 billion set aside to improve testing in high-risk and underserved communities.
  • Provides $19.7 billion for the Biomedical Advancement Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to produce and purchase vaccines, and $3.25 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). 
  • The CDC will receive $8.75 billion for vaccine distribution, including $4.5 billion for states, localities, territories, and tribes to carry out their vaccination plans. 
  • Provides $4.25 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Allocates an additional $3 billion for healthcare providers under the Provider Relief Fund.
  • The NIH also gets an additional $1.25 billion for COVID research.
  • The package extends the suspension of the 2 percent annual Medicare payment cuts to hospitals and doctors through March 31, 2021.
  • Extends mandatory funding for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (GME) Program, and the Special Diabetes Programs through FY23. The National Health Service Corps will receive $310 million each year for FY21-FY23. Rubio worked to secure this funding, which is an effort he led with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) as part of the Strengthening America’s Health Care Readiness Act.
  • Provides an additional delay of the Radiation Oncology (RO) model under the Medicare program to January 1, 2022, ensuring cancer patients continue to have access to critical innovative cancer treatments such as Proton Beam Therapy.  
  • Extends Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs prescribed to kidney transplant patients who solely qualified for Medicare due to End Stage Renal Disease, and it extends eligibility for these drugs beyond the 36-month coverage limit under Medicare for post-kidney transplant recipients who do not have other insurance coverage. Rubio is a cosponsor of this bill: Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2020 (S.3353).
  • Delays cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate-Share Hospital (DSH) payments through FY23, which intended to help offset uncompensated care costs for hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income and uninsured patients. ObamaCare mandated that DSH payments be cut by about $36 billion between FY21-FY25.
 
Contractor Relief Extension:
  • Extends until March 31, 2021, section 3610 of the CARES Act, which provides relief to certain federal contractors who cannot perform work at their duty-station or telework because of the nature of their jobs due to COVID-19.
    • This provision has major impacts on the workforce at NASA Kennedy Space Center.
 
Coronavirus Relief Fund: Extends the deadline to December 31, 2021 for spending already appropriated money. No additional flexibility or funding.
 
Education:
  • Schools:
    • Included in the $82 billion for colleges and universities is more than $4 billion for a governors’ relief fund, $54.3 billion for public K-12 schools, $2.5 billion for Emergency Assistance to nonpublic schools, and nearly $23 billion for a higher education fund. 
      • Separately, the child care sector will receive about $10 billion in emergency cash.
      • $250 million has been allocated to Head Start programs to address additional costs related to COVID-19.
 
  • Higher education: The legislation includes a bipartisan agreement to forgive nearly $1.3 billion in federal loans to historically Black colleges and universities, deliver Pell grants to incarcerated students after a 26-year ban, and simplify financial aid forms.
 
Transportation:
  • Provides $16 billion in additional assistance through March 31, 2021. 
    • This includes $15 billion for passenger air carrier workers and $1 billion for the employees of contractors that provide ground services directly to air carriers, such as catering services or on-airport functions.
  • $2 billion for passenger transportation services, such as the bus, motor coach, and passenger vessel industries.
  • $2 billion for airport operations, personnel, and debt service to keep facilities open and staff on payroll through the pandemic.
  • $10 billion for highways including $9.8 billion for Surface Transportation Block Grants.
  • $14 billion for Transit Infrastructure Grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including $13.3 billion for grants to urbanized areas and $679 million for grants to non-urbanized areas.
 
Agriculture:
  • Provides $11.18 billion for COVID-related assistance to support agricultural producers, growers, processors, specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock, poultry, and contract livestock and poultry producers and other purposes.  Within this amount notable items include:
  • Provides supplemental assistance to price trigger crops and flat rate crops of $20 per acre. 
  • Directs the Secretary to make payments to producers for losses incurred due to the depopulation of livestock and poultry due to insufficient processing access. 
  • Provides support for cattle producers. 
  • Provides $1 billion for contract growers of livestock and poultry to cover losses. 
  • Provides $20 million for animal disease prevention and response capacity. 
  • Assists domestic users of upland cotton and extra-long staple cotton and allows for support to processors for losses of crops due to insufficient processing access.  
  • Provides $1.5 billion for the Secretary to purchase food and agriculture products, including seafood, and to purchase and distribute agriculture products including fresh dairy, produce and meat products through NGOs
  • Provides for grants and loans to small or mid-sized food processors or distributors, seafood processing facilities and processing vessels, farmers markets, producers, or other organizations to respond to COVID-19 and protect workers.