|Help for America’s Small Businesses and Their Workers
“We want workers to have work, not to become dependent on the unemployment system, And for business owners and entrepreneurs who spent time and resources recruiting and training a skilled workforce, losing their connection to those employees can be a great loss. As recently as a month ago, many business leaders’ biggest concern was the difficulty of finding skilled workers.” Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza write.
President Trump’s new “Paycheck Protection Program addresses this by offering [100% forgivable] small business loans of up to $10 million.” The line of credit, guaranteed by the SBA, may be used to cover wages, health benefits, rent, utilities, and more. And critically, the loans are forgivable if the business retains and continues paying its workers for eight weeks.
This loan forgiveness even applies to businesses that have already furloughed or laid-off workers, provided they move quickly to put them back on payroll.
Eligible business owners, which include independent contractors and the self-employed, can apply for the loans now, by completing a simple application and submitting it to any existing SBA lender or participating federally insured bank or credit union. For more information, prospective borrowers and lenders can visit the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov..
Americans were enjoying a booming, vibrant economy just weeks ago. In getting back to that place as quickly as possible, few things will be more valuable than small businesses availing themselves of programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, to help keep workers on payroll.
🇺🇸 President Trump: America Works Together!
|Democrats Opt for Blackmail Over Small-Business Money—and the Media Covers for Them
–New York Post/MHI
This week, Senate Democrats blocked a simple but urgent request to boost emergency relief for U.S. small businesses from $350 billion to $600 billion. “Everything is an opportunity,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, previewing Democrats’ plan to use the small business money as leverage for other items on their political wishlist. And if they don’t get their way, no one gets a dime more. Never mind that businesses face bankruptcy or that 17 million people filed for jobless benefits in recent weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pleaded for action: “I am literally talking about deleting the number 350 and writing 600 in its place.” That’s it. “Please do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more.”
McConnell essentially promised other needs would be addressed in the next big rescue package, once it’s clear what those needs are. Yet Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats refused to budge.
And the press proceeded to cover for them. A CNN headline, at first, correctly summed up the story: “Democrats block a GOP-led funding boost for small business aid program.” The New York Times had a similar take. Minutes later, CNN moved to obscure Dem culpability with new wording: “Senate at stalemate over more COVID-19 aid.” The Times did likewise.
These left-leaning outlets don’t even care that their covering for Dems is so blatant. The Times took heat just this month for changing a headline, “Democrats Block Action” on the $2.2 trillion rescue plan, to “Partisan Divide Threatens Deal.” Yet that didn’t stop Thursday’s changeroo.
No wonder Dems are so willing to resort to blackmail: They can count on their puppets in the press never to report it that way.
|Telehealth Plays Big Role in Coronavirus Cure
“As our country responds to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, we are working rapidly to change the way we practice medicine to keep people safe,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams and CMS Administrator Seema Verma write. “For the duration of the pandemic, Medicare beneficiaries may now stay at home and use a commonly available interactive form of technology like FaceTime or Skype to have a telehealth office visit.”
Some hospitals and practices have online portals available as well, but you can also simply use your telephone. These developments are a game-changer for new and established patients, as well as their trusted clinicians.
Medicare has added more than 80 new services that can be provided via telehealth, such as physical therapy, speech or hearing therapy, radiation treatment management, group psychotherapy, inpatient neonatal and pediatric critical care, and end-stage renal disease services.
During this pandemic, the option for telehealth has now been extended to home health, nursing home visits, and hospice as well. You can even make a “visit” to the emergency room through your phone. Crucially, Medicare copayments can be waived during this national crisis for all these telehealth services.
We cannot overstate the importance of Americans staying home as much as possible for the coming days and weeks. Staying home means reducing your risk of infection and keeping others in waiting rooms and emergency departments, particularly healthcare workers, safe from this highly contagious, potentially deadly disease.
At the same time, it’s never been more important to be able to reach your doctor or therapist. With telehealth services, we can accomplish both goals — increasing access to care, while also doing our part to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
Telehealth helps doctors and other clinicians as well. It enables healthcare workers to safely work during this pandemic by greatly reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19. And if they are quarantined, it opens the option of working from home. Telehealth allows them to continue to practice medicine, albeit in a different way, and remain available to their patients.
Moreover, this now-virtual workforce can be deployed to assess and treat patients at a distance, extending a lifeline to millions and providing convenient, continuous management of common chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and more. These clinicians and therapists are helping their patients monitor illness and stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been inspiring to see how quickly many practices have shifted to this innovative mode of care. Now, we need even more practices and patients to follow their lead. Physicians, visit CMS.gov to learn more about our efforts and see if you can bring your practice online. Patients, ask your provider if you can attend your upcoming appointments virtually.
The more that do so, the further we can extend our supply of personal protective equipment — masks, gloves, gowns, etc. — to protect our courageous healthcare workforce on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.
America has a long and proud history of responding to crises with ingenuity. Telehealth is taking its place in that venerable American tradition. We encourage you to do your part: stay home, and use telehealth for as many healthcare needs as you can. It can save lives.
🎬 VP Pence: We’re seeing results, thanks to the American people
On December 30, Chinese doctor Li Wenliang warned colleagues about the outbreak of an illness resembling severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which sparked a pandemic in 2003. Public-health officials rely on the acuity of doctors like Li, whose early warnings prevent the spread of deadly diseases. But Chinese authorities didn’t reward Li; they summoned him to the Public Security Bureau in Wuhan on accusations that he had made false statements and disrupted the public order.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) followed up with numerous other arrests, and publicly warned that it would punish anyone spreading “rumors” on social media. By mid January, Chinese doctors knew that COVID-19 was spreading between humans, but on January 14, the WHO stated that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” Two weeks later, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus flew to Beijing for a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, who so impressed Tedros that he lauded Chinese authorities for “setting a new standard for outbreak control,” praising their “openness for sharing information.”
Dr. Li might have disagreed with that sentiment. Alas, he was never able to voice his objections: He died after contracting COVID-19.
When the WHO emergency committee discussed whether to declare COVID-19 a public-health emergency on January 23, international observers had definitively discredited Chinese health data. Yet Tedros relied on those data in arguing against declaring an emergency — over the objections of other committee members. That decision delayed the mobilization of public-health resources around the world.
John Mackenzie, a committee member, attributed the delay to “very poor reporting” and “very poor communication” from the CCP. After finally declaring an emergency on January 30, Tedros continued to lavish praise on China. As late as February 20, he argued that Chinese actions were “slowing the spread [of coronavirus] to the rest of the world.”
When President Trump limited travel from China in January—a move that bought America precious time to prepare for Coronavirus—the World Health Organization slammed the decision. “The record is clear: The WHO has lent its imprimatur to Chinese disinformation and blessed China’s slow response to its domestic outbreak, which likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases,” the National Review editorial board writes.
The Chinese government must believe they have invested very wisely. They backed Tedros’s bid to run the WHO in 2017, seeking to plant an ally in the U.N. leadership. Who was better suited for the role than a leftist political operative with a history of covering up health emergencies? As one of his first actions at the helm, Tedros assured the Chinese that he would adhere to the “One China” policy, barring Taiwanese participation. The Trump administration opposed Tedros’s campaign to lead the organization but couldn’t surmount China’s sway.
China’s influence over the WHO comes at a bargain price: Beijing only contributes half as much as the U.S. does to the WHO’s budget.
Congress should investigate Chinese influence on the WHO, and the U.S. should use its ample funding of the organization as leverage to demand transparency about its dealings with China. Our continued participation in the WHO should be in play. In its moment of testing, the organization kowtowed to Beijing rather than serve the public interest, and the world paid the price.
|Ivanka Trump Lassos $1.6B for Virus-Slammed Small Companies
“Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s jobs czar, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have rallied American banks to pony up $1.6 billion to help small businesses and Main Street Americans crushed by the coronavirus,” Paul Bedard reports.
Initiated at a mid-March meeting with banking leaders at the White House, several this week pledged millions of dollars of help to supplement the billions of dollars set aside by the administration and Congress for programs such as the Payroll Protection Plan.
Financial giants Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Visa, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Mastercard, and smaller community outfits — Community Spirit Bank of Alabama and Mississippi, Michigan’s Grand Rapids State Bank, and Southern Bancorp of Arkansas — were part of a White House conference call Tuesday to announce their private help and outline their focus with the payroll plan.
“We are all in this fight together, as a country and as a nation. And so we called upon each of you to do more and to assist us in what is a really herculean effort,” said Ivanka Trump.
And, to her father, she said, “Anyone who knows you knows the heart you have for America’s small businesses — over 30 million amazing innovators and entrepreneurs that employ over 60 million people. So, just absolutely incredible.”
Trump said that the new effort that includes private loans and forgiveness programs was “born out of” her nationwide job training campaign called Pledge to America’s Workers, which had led to the creation of 5.3 million new jobs.
The president told the group, “As our nation wages the war against the invisible enemy, we’re grateful for the many ways in which your companies have answered the call to join our national endeavor. Thank you for donating tens of millions of dollars.”
Some details from a White House fact sheet:
- Goldman Sachs: $500 million in capital and critical infrastructure to Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institutions to help small business.
- Bank of America: $250 million in capital and $10 million in philanthropic grants to Community Development Financial Institutions. These investments will expand access to capital to more small businesses and not-for-profits. Announces additional support for consumer and small business clients experiencing hardship from the impact of COVID-19. Commits $100 million in support of communities around the world impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- JP Morgan Chase: $150 million program to help community partners receive capital for underserved small businesses and nonprofits, focusing on underserved entrepreneurs including women and minority owners and the hardest hit communities. $50 million in philanthropic support to address the immediate public health and long-term economic challenges for small business and communities from COVID-19.
- Wells Fargo Foundation: Committed $175 million to support non-profits at the federal, state, and local levels helping people impacted by COVID-19. Including $10 million to support small businesses.
- Citibank: Waivers on monthly service fees and remote deposit capture, and waive penalties for early CD withdrawals; suspended foreclosures and evictions for 60 days through its subservicer Cenlar and is providing forbearance programs for student loans through its subservicer Firstmark.
- The Visa Foundation is committed to two programs totaling $210 million to support small and micro businesses, aligning with the Foundation’s long-term focus on women’s economic advancement and inclusive economic development, and to address an urgent need from local communities following the spread of COVID-19.
- Mastercard: $250 million over the next five years to small businesses in the United States and other markets where Mastercard operates, supporting the financial security and vitality of businesses and their workers.
- Grand Rapids State Bank: Modifying loan terms to create a period of interest only payments, deferring payments for up to six months, creating a period of time where there is total temporary relief from payments.
- Community Spirit Bank: Committed to 90-day payment deferral programs for anyone affected by the virus, allowing for deferment of both principal and interest for these customers on any affected loan.
🎬 Ivanka Trump: “We’ll keep fighting for you.”