Rep. Lucy McBath Hosts Small Business and Health Experts for COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall

The community call was attended by thousands of residents from across Georgia’s Sixth District

April 2, 2020

Sandy Springs, GA — Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) convened her second community Telephone Town Hall on the Coronavirus pandemic this evening with more than 3,000 participants from across Georgia’s Sixth District. McBath was joined by health and small business experts to provide updates about the work being done to fight this pandemic, help local businesses, and support American workers during this crisis.

“It’s important that we all have the most up-to-date, reliable information throughout this public health crisis,” said McBath. “This evening’s call was an important time to provide an update on some of the recent federal legislation and help answer questions and concerns from our friends and neighbors. I’m so thankful for our experts for sharing their time and perspective, and for those who called in and asked their questions. We must all continue to work together to keep everyone safe, healthy, and informed through this crisis.”

Small business experts Ashley Bell, White House Policy Advisor on Entrepreneurship and Innovation & Southeastern Regional Administrator for the US Small Business Administration; Terri Denison, District Director of Georgia’s Small Business Administration; and Doctor Rob Schreiner, President of the Wellstar Medical Group & Executive VP of the Wellstar Health System provided information about the resources available to small businesses and their employees during this uncertain time and the local and state response to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

Those who were unable to attend are encouraged to visit Representative McBath’s coronavirus resources webpage or sign up for her newsletter to receive updates about the ongoing pandemic, as well as future events.

Among the numerous initiatives to support the residents of Georgia, the newest COVID-19 relief package includes:

  • A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that Georgia will receive approximately $4.12 billion in funds.
  • More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
  • $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.

  • Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.

  • Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by health care workers, including ventilators, N95 masks, gowns, and gloves.

Passed by the House and signed into law last week, this is the third relief package addressing the economic and public health challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Rep. McBath voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a bipartisan bill focused on providing support for American families during this public health crisis. The legislation includes:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test
  • Paid emergency family and medical leave 
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance to protect furloughed workers
  • Strengthened food security initiatives for students, seniors, and food banks  
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaidas states face higher costs

Earlier in March, $8.3 billion in emergency funding was approved and signed by the President. That funding is being used for prevention and preparedness, emergency response, treatment, and vaccine development.