"My website has information about legislative action Congress is taking, links to school districts operating statuses, assistance from the Small Business Administration, CDC guidelines and a lot more. . . "
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. – As we navigate the Coronavirus pandemic, I know these are uncertain times for Central Texans. Each day we continue to learn more about Coronavirus, and as we develop legislative responses, my office has received many questions. I'm sure many of you have the same questions, so I wanted to take a moment to answer those here.
What do I do if I think I may have COVID-19?
If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or start developing symptoms like fever, cough or difficulty breathing - contact your health care provider. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, like trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face, contact your health care provider to get medical attention immediately. For additional guidelines visit the CDC’s website.
Are we under a stay at home directive? What does that mean?
Both Bell and Williamson County have issued stay at home directives to help prevent additional spread of COVID-19. Bell County's directive can be found here. Williamson County's directive can be found here. Both directives exclude essential business and government functions. Read your county specific directive for guidance on what businesses or services are exempt.
You can also call the hotlines provided for additional information:
Williamson County COVID-19 Hotline: 512-943-1600
Bell County COVID-19 Hotline: 254-933-5203
Bell County COVID-19 Hotline: 254-933-5203
I’ve heard a rumor that….
STOP! Don’t spread misinformation. If you’ve heard a rumor, check out FEMA’s rumor control page to check the validity. Avoid spreading rumors on social media. We need to think of our friends and neighbors who may be anxious about this situation when we communicate about COVID-19. Make sure information is true and correct to avoid confusion or additional stress to those around you.
My child’s school is shut down and my family needs nutrition assistance.
Visit School Meal Finder to type in your address and find food resources near you. You can also call 2-1-1 to find nutritional resources, housing help or mental health assistance.
Do we still have to file income taxes during this pandemic?
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Treasury has pushed the tax filing deadline back to July 15. That doesn’t mean you can’t file now if you’re expecting a refund.
I’m an American overseas and I need assistance returning to the United States.
If you need emergency assistance from the State Department, you may utilize these phone numbers:
U.S. and Canada: 1-888-407-4747
Overseas: +1 202-501-4444
Last week, the State Department issued a level 4 travel advisory to let Americans know that they should not travel abroad, and if they are abroad, they should immediately return to the United States or prepare to shelter in place for an extended period of time. Stay in contact with your local U.S. embassy or consulate to stay up to date on return options. Visit my Coronavirus Resource page for additional information and guidance.
I’m a small business owner and COVID-19 is economically impacting my business. What can I do?
On March 20, 2020, the Small Business Administration made Texas eligible for SBA disaster loans. These low-interest, long-term loans provide cash flow to assist businesses and non-profits during economic disasters. To apply for an SBA loan, click here.
My small business can’t afford to pay sick leave.
H.R. 6201— the Families First Coronavirus Response Act— includes a refundable payroll tax credit to reimburse—dollar-for-dollar—local businesses for paid sick leave and family and medical leave wages paid to employees that are affected by COVID-19.
The leave is fully funded by the tax credit, but my small business will be interrupted by cash flow issues.
H.R. 6201 provides significant relief to businesses that otherwise may not be able to afford the employee costs associated with coronavirus-related paid leave. Treasury has broad regulatory authority to advance funds to employers to protect businesses concerned about cash flow. In a March 14th press release, Treasury stated that “employers will be able to use cash deposited with the IRS to pay sick leave wages.
What Congressional action has been taken to respond to COVID-19?
I supported the two relief packages which have been signed into law. Congress is currently negotiating additional relief packages to assist Americans, businesses, health care providers and industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am committed to providing local and state entities with federal funding to tackle their individual Coronavirus situations.
Package 1: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
- Provided $8.3 billion in emergency appropriations funds, including;
- $1 billion in loan subsidies to help small businesses, ag cooperatives, and nonprofit organizations
- $4 billion to help make diagnostic tests more broadly available
- $2.2 billion for Centers for Disease Control and local health departments*
- $1.25 billion for the State Department to evacuate American overseas
Package 2: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Provides free medically appropriate diagnostic testing for the Coronavirus
- Increases access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries
- Provides funding for nutritional assistance programs and food banks to help assist low-income families in the wake of school closures related to COVID-19
- Provides $250 million for senior nutrition programs, including home-delivered meals and meals at senior centers
- Provides paid sick leave for employees that are impacted by Coronavirus