Rep. Jeff Fortenberry sent this note to constituents Tuesday, to keep them abreast of the latest developments in Washington D.C. for an historic bailout of the U.S. health care system, workers and small businesses.

Senate Democrats and Republicans wrangled for several days over the terms of the bail-out, and finally reached an agreement Tuesday night on a $2 million bill.

Earlier, Congress passed two smaller bills, Fortenberry said.

Here are some basic components of the third bill as it stood on Tuesday, as well as other policies already enacted:


Individuals and families

Most Americans are going to get a check: $1,200 per adult; $500 per child.  If you are on Social Security or make no money, you still get a check.

Unemployment benefits are significantly expanded, including for self-employed and independent contractors.

If you are older, the minimum distribution for retirement requirement is waived.

The 10% early withdrawal fee on retirement accounts is waived on coronavirus-related distributions.

The federal income tax filing date has already been extended.


 Small businesses and non-profits

If you keep your people employed, you can get a loan.  For eight weeks, the portion of the loan that covers payroll, mortgage interest or rent will be yours to keep.

Payroll taxes are delayed until 2021 or later.

For six months, principal and interest on existing SBA loans are waived.


Health care

Provides additional funding for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of coronavirus and expands health insurance coverage.

Expands nutrition services, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Prioritizes Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of certain promising treatments and allows emergency use of certain diagnostic tests not yet approved by the FDA.

Essential medicines and medical equipment – made in America.

The bill also provides significant emergency relief to distressed business sectors as well as states and municipalities, with common sense safeguards against abuse.

Business support is in the form of loans, not bailouts, Fortenberry said.


Jeff Fortenberry represents eastern Nebraska, except for Omaha, in the U.S. House of Representatives.