Coronavirus Updates, Tax Payment Deadline Extended
Thank you for reading The Conaway Chronicle, a review of my activities in Congress and the 11th District.
As you know, the threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has continued to increase exponentially. In response, Congress and President Trump have taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans from the threat of Coronavirus.
In Congress, we passed two emergency supplemental appropriations bills to combat the spread of Coronavirus, protect the health and safety of all Americans, and mitigate the economic impacts of the virus.
The first bill, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority, and was signed into law by President Trump on Friday, March 6th. This emergency legislation provides $8.3 billion dollars in emergency funding to combat the Coronavirus and work towards a cure.
Specifically, the bill includes almost $1 billion dollars for state and local health departments across the U.S. – including $35 million allocated to Texas’ relief efforts. Additionally, $3.1 billion has been appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services for vaccine and therapy development, as well as to purchase masks and other protective equipment.
The second Coronavirus response bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act looks to mitigate the economic challenges that Coronavirus will have on workers and families. This bill was signed into law by President Trump on Wednesday, March 18th, and will provide immediate, targeted relief to those impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
This bill ensures that Americans have access to free Coronavirus testing, expands unemployment insurance, extends paid sick leave benefits, ensures that low-income children don’t miss meals due to school closures, and requires employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
It is also important to note that Republicans were able to secure several positive changes during negotiations. Notably, protections for the Hyde amendment, which prevents government funds from being used for abortions, increased support for small businesses, and ensuring that all programs contain sunset provisions.
President Trump has directed his Administration to take unprecedented actions to combat the threat of COVID-19 in the United States.
On Wednesday, March 11th, President Trump declared a National Emergency. The declaration allowed the president to free up $50 billion in federal aid to assist in the Coronavirus outbreak.
This past Wednesday, March 18th, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, which gives the President the authority to direct the creation and production of certain industries and resources. This move puts the U.S. at wartime footing against COVID-19 and will increase production of critically important medical equipment.
The Administration has also worked tirelessly to coordinate with the states and private companies to strengthen domestic supply chains and provide our healthcare professionals the tools they need to keep Americans safe.
On Sunday, March 15th, Texas received our first shipment of medical personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, and gowns) from the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile, which was created in 1999 to assemble large quantities of essential medical supplies that could be delivered to states and communities during an emergency.
President Trump and his administration have also been coordinating with private companies and testing facilities to increase production of medical equipment and ensure that all Americans have access to quick and accurate testing.
Additionally, President Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force have been conducting daily press briefings to update the public on the federal governments response to Coronavirus. You can watch these briefings, which are scheduled to begin around 10:30am CT, live on the White House Facebook Page.
On March 16th, the President released his 15 Days to Slow the Spread, which details guidelines that all of us must follow to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Please adhere to these guidelines closely and continue abiding by the directions of your local leaders. The coming weeks may be difficult for many of us, but they are crucial to cutting the spread of the virus and saving lives.
The Department of Treasury has announced that taxpayers will have an additional three months to pay any tax bills. This means that individuals who owe less that $1 million, and companies who owe less than $10 million can wait to pay their taxes until July 15th without penalties or interest. However, if you are prepared to file your taxes on time on April 15th, please feel free to do so. The IRS is up and running, and will be sending out refunds in a timely manner.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation spread regarding Coronavirus - many of it spurred by foreign bad actors looking to sow discord with their false propaganda. Some of the most common foreign conspiracy theories include the idea that the government might use martial law to takeover, or that there will be a national lock down. These are false, and we should not fall victim to our enemies trying to convince us otherwise.
In order to curb the spread of false information, I have created a page on my website with a list of reputable sources and resources that you can reference for updates on Coronavirus.
You can visit my website (www.conaway.house.gov) and clicking the "Get Coronavirus Updates" tab at the top of the home page.
Thank you for reading. It is important that we recognize the seriousness of the situation while continuing to remain calm. America has weathered astonishing trials in the past, and we will get through this together. Please continue to pray for our nation and all our friends around the world.
For more updates, you can follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Rep. Mike Conaway, 11th District