U.S. House passes coronavirus relief package


Guam Congressman Micheal San Nicolas has announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a coronavirus relief package.

H.R. 6074 makes $900 million available to support local governments in surveillance, testing, tracing, infection control, and other public health preparedness and response activities.

The bill, known as the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, passed by an overwhelming vote of 415 yeas and just 2 nays.

San Nicolas says the Act classifies coronavirus as a recognized disaster for Small Business Disaster Lending purposes, opening up $7 billion in available disaster loans for small businesses impacted by financial loss as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“A majority of Guam businesses qualify as small businesses under federal regulations,” states San Nicolas in his release. “So the inclusion of coronavirus losses for disaster loans under the SBA will greatly help Guam businesses get through, and I encourage all businesses to seek assistance from our local SBA office.”

“I urge the local government to avail of these funds to pay for the needed testing kits, thermal scanners, and procurement of temporary isolation quarters and collateral equipment we clearly need on Guam,” he said. “$475 million of the $900 million must be allocated within 30 days, so it is critical for the local government to move quickly to itemize these costs and secure these resources to ensure our people are protected.”

H.R. 6074 still needs to clear the Senate and be signed by the President.

“With such overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and a general consensus federally of the need to address coronavirus concerns, it would be wise to prepare documentation now so that we can be ready as soon as all of this becomes law,” said the Congressman. “I would like to thank my colleagues for rapidly addressing this issue and ensuring that Territories are clearly included in the language so we on Guam can rest assured that our need for resources is addressed,” he concluded.

(Information from a news release)