Coronavirus (COVID-19)

En español

Visite el sitio web del coronavirus de los CDC para obtener recomendaciones e información sobre cómo prevenir la exposición, los síntomas conocidos, y qué hacer si cree que ha estado expuesto a la coronavirus. Para información específica de Texas, visite el Departamento Estatal de Servicios de Salud de Texas. Este sitio web también está disponible en español aquí.

Updates

The safety and health of Texans is my absolute top-priority, and I’ve been working to ensure state and local officials from Texas cities affected by the Coronavirus have a seat at the table as we work together to keep Texans safe.
 
Here are the steps I’ve taken to make sure Texans stay healthy and prepared:
  • Supported the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and provide additional resources for healthcare workers and testing.
  • Voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help Texans, small businesses, and health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help Texans deal with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Co-sponsored the Emergency GI Fix for Coronavirus School Closures Act, a bill to allow veterans to continue utilizing GI benefits despite many courses moving online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Supported the Texas Department of Agriculture’s request that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issue a waiver that would allow Texas schools to continue to serve no or low-cost meals to low-income students during school closures.
  • Supported $826 million in funds for development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for COVID-19.
  • Supported $61 million in funds to aid the deployment of countermeasures, therapies, and vaccines. Funds can be used to monitor and mitigate medical product shortage and support US manufacturers.
  • Secured $950 million in funds to reimburse communities across the country, including San Antonio.
  • Spoke directly to President Trump and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar about their Coronavirus response plan.
  • Hosted the first meeting bringing both DOD and HHS officials to the table with San Antonio officials to discuss concerns and coordinate the local Coronavirus response.
  • Joined Senator Cruz in sending a letter to the Director of the CDC, asking him to outline a plan to ensure no future patients will be released from quarantine before they have fully recovered.
  • Worked with the Texas Hospital Association to ensure hospitals and healthcare professionals throughout our state had an opportunity to connect directly with HHS and Texas Department of State Health Commission to ask questions and provide feedback on the response to COVID-19.
  • Connected HHS officials with City of San Antonio officials and arranged additional calls to help keep federal and local officials on the same page.

Reopening Texas

On April 27, Governor Abbott announced the first phase of the plan to reopen Texas. Since then, the state continues to provide recommended protocols for opening businesses across Texas. Get the latest guidance from DSHS here for Opening the State of Texas.

Stop the Spread

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus, so the best thing all Texans can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home if you can. I encourage all Texans to follow the same age-old advice that keeps us healthy year-round. Below are basic prevention tips from the CDC:

 
  • Wash your hands often
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when in public, including in the grocery stores and pharmacies.
      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for healthcare workers.
  • Avoid close contact
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
      • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
      • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
      • Do not gather in groups.
      • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
      • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfects will work.
  • Monitor Your Health
    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
      • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
    • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
      • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
    • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

 

To keep informed on Texas-specific information related to Coronavirus, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services.
 
For detailed information on everything related to COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website at coronavirus.gov.
 
To stay up-to-date with all the latest information, you can also follow these organizations on Twitter:
By taking common-sense steps to keep ourselves healthy, we can help ensure the safety of ourselves and our families.

 

CARES Act

With both the physical and economic health of our country in crisis, this bold legislation is our best path forward.

- Senator John Cornyn

How the CARES Act helps Texans:

  • Aids the health care industry responding to the pandemic:
    • Provides an additional $100 billion for hospitals
    • Provides $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical needs
    • Provides $1.5 billion in support for local, state, and federal public health agencies
    • Opens up telehealth access for home-based services, community health centers, and rural health centers and provides an additional $1.3 billion for community health centers to treat COVID-19 patients
  • Provides direct and immediate financial relief to Texans:
    • Allots $1,200 checks to each Texan making less than $75,000 annually ($2,400 for a couple making less than $150,000 annually), plus $500 per child
    • Allows Texans to access their retirement plans for coronavirus-related expenses without an early withdrawal penalty
    • Allows Texans to defer student loan payments for 6 months with no penalty or interest
    • Incentivizes charitable giving by temporarily increasing the amount Texans can deduct from their taxes for charitable contributions, and allows
  • Expands unemployment insurance (UI) for Texas workers:
    • Provides an extra $600 weekly federal UI benefit on top of the state maximum temporarily
    • Funds an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment eligibility for individuals after they’ve exhausted state UI benefits through the end of the year
    • Temporarily expands UI eligibility to include the self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, railroad workers, and those who worked at non-profit entities
  • Injects targeted funding to state and local entities:
    • $150 billion for state and local governments, allotted based on population (any city or county with more than 500,000 residents can petition the U.S. treasury directly for funding)
    • $272 billion in targeted funding for state and local assistance, including:
      • State, local, and tribal governments
      • Hospitals and health care workers
      • Law enforcement and first responders
      • Scientists researching treatments and vaccines
      • Small businesses struggling to pay their employees
      • Local schools and universities
      • Affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs
      • The purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment
  • Offers relief for Texas businesses:
    • Provides $500 billion in secured loans to affected businesses and establishes an Inspector General and Oversight Board to provide accountability for the loan program
    • Provides $350 billion for SBA interruption loans
    • Provides bankruptcy relief for Texas small businesses by raising the maximum debt threshold for eligibility, so that more small- and medium-sized businesses can get through bankruptcy faster and more easily
    • Delays the employer payroll tax
    • Increases the amount of deductible business interest allowed

 

CARES Act Recovery Check FAQ

See tabs below for frequently asked questions on the CARES Act recovery checks. If you need to check the status of of your stimulus payment, visit the IRS stimulus check tracker and look for the "Get My Payment" button.

The below information is from the IRS website or has been prepared by Republican Finance Committee staff for informational purposes and should not be relied on for legal advice. Individuals should consult the IRS or a tax advisor to address questions related to their individual circumstances.

All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income under $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married), who are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security Number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. A typical family of four is eligible for a $3,400 recovery rebate.

The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children. For a typical family of four, the amount is completely phased out for those with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $218,000.

If your income in 2019 was in the phase-out range you would still receive a partial rebate based on your 2019 tax return. However, the rebate is actually an advance on a tax credit that you may claim on your 2020 tax return. If your income is lower in 2020 than in 2019, any additional credit you are eligible for will be refunded or reduce your tax liability when you file your 2020 tax return next year.

No, the rebate is treated like other refundable tax credits, such as the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, and not considered income. Moreover, if the credit amount you qualify based on 2020 income is less than what you qualify for based on your 2019 tax return, it does not have to be paid back.

Any child who is a qualifying child for the purposes of the Child Tax Credit is also a qualifying child for the purposes of the recovery rebate. In general, a child is any dependent of a taxpayer under the age of 17.

Yes, there is no qualifying income requirement. Even individuals with $0 of income are eligible for a rebate so long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible SSN.

Yes, as long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer. The bill also provides IRS with additional tools to locate and provide rebates to low-income seniors who normally do not file a tax return by allowing them to base a rebate on Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement or Form RRB-1099, which is the equivalent of the Social Security statement for Railroad Employees. However, seniors are still encouraged to file their 2019 tax return to ensure they receive their recovery rebate as quickly as possible.

Only if they are not considered a dependent of their parents. Generally, a full-time college student under the age of 24 is considered a dependent if their parent(s) provide more than half of their support.

For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required to receive a rebate check since the IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return if they haven’t filed their 2019 return. This includes many individuals with very low income who file a tax return despite not owing any tax in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

The best way to ensure you receive a recovery rebate is to file a 2019 tax return if you have not already done so. This could be accomplished for free online from home using the IRS Free file program. The bill also instructs the IRS to engage in a public campaign to alert all individuals of their eligibility for the rebate and how to receive it if they have not filed either a 2019 or 2018 tax return.

No, the bill turns off nearly all administrative offsets that ordinarily may reduce tax refunds for individuals who have past tax debts, or who are behind on other payments to federal or state governments, including student loan payments. The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department.

The IRS created a web portal where users can check the status of their stimulus payments. It will launch this week. The site will also have a feature to enter your bank account information if the IRS doesn’t already have it from a 2018 or 2019 refund. The IRS launched this tool Wednesday, April 15.

Check this page to view the stimulus check tracker info and look for the "Get My Payment" button, when it launches.

The IRS launched this webpage to allow non-tax filers to provide the federal government with payment information. Look for the "Non-filers: Enter payment info here" button.

"If you don’t file taxes, use the "Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here" application to provide simple information so you can get your payment. You should use this application if: You did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples). This includes people who had no income. Or You weren’t required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons"

People who filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018

No additional action is needed by taxpayers who:

  • Have already filed their tax returns this year for 2019. The IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount.
  • Haven’t filed yet for 2019 but filed a 2018 federal tax return. For these taxpayers the IRS will use their information from 2018 tax filings to make the Economic Impact Payment calculations.

People who aren't typically required to file a tax return

Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments of $1,200 to these individuals even if they did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are also part of this group who don't need to take action.

For Social Security, Railroad retirees and SSDI who have qualifying children, they can take an additional step to receive $500 per qualifying child.

There are other individuals such as low-income workers and certain veterans and individuals with disabilities who aren’t required to file a tax return, but they are still eligible for the Economic Impact Payments. Taxpayers can check the IRS.gov tool - Do I Need to File a Tax Return? - to see if  they have a filing requirement.  

The IRS will soon provide guidance for these individuals on the steps to take to get their payment as soon as possible.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Texans are trying to adapt while following guidelines from the CDC, but businesses are losing customers and hourly workers are seeing fewer and fewer opportunities to collect a paycheck.

The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to assist Texas workers, families, and businesses. Additional resources are also listed below.

 

Texas Workers

If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, there are many resources available to you. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides 10 days of paid sick leave for Texans diagnosed with the coronavirus, self-quarantined, or caring for another person with the virus and expands the Family Medical Leave Act to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who need to care for affected dependents due to closures. It also expands SNAP, WIC, and unemployment benefits.

Additionally, you can apply for benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) using their online claim portal or by calling 800-939-6631 from 8 AM to 6 PM Central, Monday through Friday.

The U.S. Department of Labor created a tool to help you determine your FFCRA eligibility. Use this tool to determine your eligibility as an employee for paid sick leave or paid expanded family and medical leave.

 

Texas Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and some private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for an EIDL of up to $2 million, which will provide the necessary working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after the COVID-19 outbreak. EIDL assistance will only be available to small businesses when the SBA determines they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

In order for Texas to receive these EIDL’s, businesses should fill out an Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet on the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) website here.

Once Texas counties are certified by the SBA, qualified businesses that have applied will be eligible to start receiving funds. You can apply for an SBA loan here.

Visit the TDEM and SBA websites for more information. 

Health Care Providers and Hospitals

Senator Cornyn has been working to provide support for hospitals, community health centers, and other health care providers combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. After extensive conversations with Texas hospital systems, frontline providers, and state and local health authorities, Sen. Cornyn successfully delivered significant resources to health care providers while reducing unnecessary barriers to care for Texans.

Download a printable PDF version of this information here.
 

Equipping Health Care Providers to Respond to COVID-19

In order to respond to the coronavirus, Sen. Cornyn voted for legislation to equip those on the front lines with the resources they need to provide care for Texans. To aid all Texas health care institutions, from hospitals to Community Health Centers to state and local entities, the three coronavirus relief bills passed:

  • Increase the supply of drugs and equipment, including ventilators and masks
  • Increase hiring for vital health care jobs
  • Speed up the development of a vaccine, treatments, and faster diagnostics
  • Provide $1.3 billion in immediate additional funding for Community Health Centers on the front lines of testing and treating patients
  • Aid the health care industry’s response to the pandemic by providing:
    • $100 billion for hospitals to handle an influx of coronavirus patients
    • $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical needs
  • Inject targeted funding to state and local entities, including:
  • $150 billion for state and local governments, allotted based on population (any city or county with more than 500,000 residents can petition the U.S. Treasury directly for funding, otherwise smaller local entities may receive funding allotted to the state)
  • $272 billion in targeted funding for state and local assistance, including:
    • Hospitals and health care workers
    • The purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment
    • Scientists researching treatments and vaccines
    • State, local, and tribal governments
    • Small businesses struggling to pay their employees
  • Secure $35 million to reimburse state and local governments for care provided to coronavirus patients evacuated from cruise ships
  • Empower nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants to be able to prescribe home health services

 

Prioritizing Rural Health Care Systems

Because millions of Texans live in rural areas, Sen. Cornyn helped pass legislation that prioritizes the unique needs of rural health care providers, including:

  • Providing $25 million in funding for distance learning telemedicine and broadband to support rural communities’ access to health and education resources
  • Reauthorizing Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant programs that strengthen rural community health by focusing on quality improvement, increasing health care access, coordination of care, and integration of services
  • Allowing Rural Health Centers to utilize telehealth to serve patients

 

Removing Barriers to Care

In response to this unprecedented pandemic, Sen. Cornyn helped pass legislation that reduces barriers for Texans who need coronavirus treatment and testing and that eliminates unnecessary red tape for hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers. This legislation:

  • Makes all COVID-19 tests free for all Texans
  • Requires private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccines
  • Temporarily allows up to 3-month fills and refills of covered Medicare Part D prescription medications if requested by a beneficiary
  • Allows the use of HSAs to cover telehealth and over-the-counter drugs and medical products, including those needed for quarantine and social distancing, without a prescription
  • Temporarily lifts the Medicare sequester from May 1 - December 31, 2020, boosting payments for hospital, physician, nursing home, and home health
  • Increases Medicare reimbursements made to a hospital for treating a patient admitted with COVID-19 by 20 percent
  • Temporarily expands an existing Medicare accelerated payment program that allows qualified facilities to request up to a six-month advanced lump sum or periodic payment to ensure hospitals, especially those facilities in rural and frontier areas, have a reliable and stable cash flow to help them maintain an adequate workforce, buy essential supplies, create additional infrastructure, and keep their doors open
    • Advanced payment would be based on net reimbursement represented by unbilled discharges or unpaid bills
    • Most hospital types could elect to receive up to 100 percent of the prior period payments, with Critical Access Hospitals able to receive up to 125 percent
    • Qualifying hospitals would not be required to start paying down the loan for four months and would also have at least 12 months to complete repayment without a requirement to pay interest
  • Taking care of servicemembers and veterans with $82 million for COVID-19 related expenses for military personnel and Department of Defense employees and $60 million for veterans’ related medical services
  • Provides acute care hospitals temporary flexibility to transfer patients out of their facilities and into alternative care settings in order to prioritize resources needed to treat COVID-19 cases
  • Provides home and community-based support services during hospital stays by allowing state Medicaid programs to pay for direct support professionals trained to help with activities of daily living to assist disabled individuals in the hospital in order to reduce length of stay and free up beds
  • Waives the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) three-hour rule that requires a beneficiary be expected to participate in at least three hours of intensive rehabilitation at least five days per week to be admitted to an IRF
  • Allows a Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH) to maintain its designation even if more than 50 percent of its cases are less intensive
  • Clarifies that doctors who provide volunteer medical services during the pandemic have liability protections
     

Supporting Medical Product Manufacturers

During the pandemic, Texas companies who manufacture respirators, masks, and other health care-related products should be supported for the lifesaving role they play in fighting the coronavirus. Sen. Cornyn voted for legislative provisions that:

  • Provide permanent liability protection for manufacturers of personal respiratory protective equipment, such as masks and respirators, in the event of a public health emergency, to incentivize production and distribution
  • Dedicate $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other necessary medical supplies for federal and state response efforts

 

Promoting Telehealth

Telehealth allows Texans to see doctors from the safety of their own homes, protecting both the patient and the provider. Sen. Cornyn worked to pass legislation that:

  • Allows a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account (HSA) to cover telehealth services prior to a patient reaching the deductible, increasing access for patients who may have the COVID-19 virus and protecting other patients from potential exposure
  • Enables Medicare beneficiaries to access telehealth from a broader range of providers by eliminating a requirement that the physician must have treated the patient in the past three years
  • Expands Medicare telehealth for home dialysis patients by temporarily eliminating a requirement that a nephrologist conduct some of the required periodic evaluations of a patient on home dialysis face-to-face, allowing Texans to get more care in the safety of their home

 

FAQ's

 

Congress dedicated $11 billion towards the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for the coronavirus. It also provided $272 billion in targeted funding for state and local assistance, including resources for the scientists researching treatments and vaccines.  Because of the legislation Congress passed, private insurance must cover COVID-19 treatment and vaccines and all tests are now free for Texans.

The bills Congress passed include resources to expand telehealth so that Texans can stay at home and receive care, protecting both patients and providers.  The bills also cut red tape for those with high deductible health plans and HSAs, Medicare beneficiaries, and home dialysis patients who want to take advantage of telehealth options.  For Texans needing prescriptions, the legislation temporarily allows up to 3-month fills and refills of Part D medications and the use of HSAs to pay for over-the-counter drugs and telehealth to keep you out of the doctor’s office and safe at home.  

 

The $272 billion in targeted funding for state and local assistance that Congress passed includes resources for the purchase of PPE and other medical equipment.  Many companies in Texas have pitched in to help with the shortage of masks, and Sen. Cornyn is grateful for their willingness to lend a hand during this difficult time.

Small Businesses

Senator Cornyn has been working to provide relief for Texas small businesses struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After extensive discussions with Texas small business owners, local Texas Chambers of Commerce, and numerous other Texans, Sen. Cornyn has successfully delivered multiple legislative solutions to help keep small businesses afloat and provide for their employees.

Download a printable PDF version of this information here.

 

To apply for an SBA Interruption Loan, please contact your local creditor.

You can apply for an SBA Disaster Loan at the SBA website.

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Became Law March 27, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement and Texas-Specific Summary

  • Establishes a $350 billion SBA-backed “Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally-guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll
    • The loan amount can be up to 250 percent of an employer's average monthly payroll, with a maximum loan of $10 million.
    • The loan can be used to cover payroll costs (salary, wages, payment of cash tips up to an annual rate of $100,000; employee group health care benefits including insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and covered leave), paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
    • If employers maintain their payroll, certain portions of the loans can be forgiven, including payroll, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utility payments.
    • Loans will be available through more than 135 existing SBA-certified lenders in Texas, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.
    • The maximum loan amount for SBA Express loans is increased from $350,000 to $1 million, providing borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
    • Note: Any small business awarded this type of SBA loan cannot receive the retention credit or a deferral on their payroll taxes.
  • Includes $265 million for counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19 through grants to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women's Business Centers, and includes $10 million for the Minority Business Development Agency to provide these services through Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce
  • Expedites access to $10 billion in capital by allowing small businesses who have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loan to request an emergency advance of up to $10,000 within three days to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, and other debt obligations
  • It also allows business with EIDL loans from previous disasters (floods, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.) to apply for paycheck protection program loans and provides a refinancing mechanism for easy repayment.
  • Offers loan forgiveness by requiring SBA to pay all principal, interest and fees on all new and existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for six months
  • Allows loan forgiveness for additional wages paid to tipped workers
  • Expands small business benefits to sole-proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and businesses with more than one physical location of less than 500 employees each in certain industries
  • Allows and encourages the Dept. of the Treasury to approve additional lenders for SBA loans, in addition to the 135 already approved in Texas
  • Allows employers and self-employed to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax with half the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022 if they choose not to use the Paycheck Protection Program
  • Fixes the tax code to allow Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) eligibility for 100 percent bonus depreciation to allow small businesses to reasonably deduct major spending for improvements made to existing property
  • It relaxes the taxable income limitation on a company’s use of losses and suspends the excess business loss limitation applicable to non-corporate taxpayers for taxable years 2018, 2019, and 2020.   Significantly, taxpayers can carryback losses created in 2018-2020 back five years. [Therefore, some businesses could be provided a 21 percent rate on taxable income and carryback losses into a higher taxable year at 35 percent.]
  • It also accelerates the ability for companies to recover refundable AMT credits.
  • Modifies the limitations on net operating losses (NOL) to allow small businesses to utilize losses for cash flow and liquidity
  • Temporarily increases the amount of business interest expense businesses may deduct on their tax returns from 30 percent to 50 percent of taxable income for 2019 and 2020.  Special rules apply for partnerships
  • This provision sunsets after one year, when the eligibility threshold will return to $2,725,625.
  • Offers a temporary Refundable Employer Retention Credit for businesses who choose not to use the Paycheck Protection Program and continue to pay their employees despite suffering a reduction of at least 50 percent in gross receipts or being forced to shut down because of government orders. Special rules apply depending on the business’ size.
  • Provides bankruptcy relief for small businesses by raising the maximum debt threshold for eligibility to $7.5 million and excluding coronavirus-related payments from the federal government from income for purposes of filing bankruptcy

 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Became Law March 18, 2020

Texas-Specific Summary

  • Provides refundable payroll tax credits for small businesses to help employers with the additional costs imposed by the new Emergency Paid Leave Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expansion through the end of 2020
    • The sick leave credit would cover up to $511 per day per employee receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves with a coronavirus-related illness, or $200 per employee per day if the sick leave is to care for a family member with a coronavirus-related illness, including their child if school is closed.  This translates to payroll tax credits of up to $132,000 for sick leave.
    • The family leave credit would cover up to $200 per day, or an aggregate of $10,000.  This translates to payroll tax credits of up to $78,000 for FMLA.
    • Both tax credits are applied against the self-employment tax, covering 100 percent of the self-employed individual’s sick leave or 67 percent of family leave.
    • Small businesses with less than 500 employees can be exempt by the Secretary of Labor from the paid family leave provisions if complying would put them out of business.

 

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

Became Law March 6, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement

 

  • Makes $1 billion in disaster loan subsidies available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and non-profit organizations impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak
    • This funding could enable SBA to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans, and also appropriates $20 million to administer these loans.

 

FAQ's

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including 501(c)(3) organizations, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors—are eligible. Designated franchises and businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.

Business owners should reach out to your local SBA office or your local Small Business Development Center, of which there are 1,000 across the country, for free and specific guidance on your financial situation.  To find your local Small Business Development Center, you can visit the SBDC website at AmericasSBDC.org. 

Hospitality Industry and Restaurants

Senator Cornyn has been working to provide economic relief for hotels and restaurants in Texas that have been drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After hearing from his constituents across Texas, Sen. Cornyn has successfully delivered multiple legislative solutions to allow Texas’ hospitality and restaurant industries to better retain their workforce and be in a position to bounce back following this period of uncertainty.

Download a printable PDF version of this information here.

 

To apply for an SBA Interruption Loan, please contact your local creditor.

You can apply for an SBA Disaster Loan at the SBA website.

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Became Law March 27, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement and Texas-Specific Summary

  • Establishes a $350 billion SBA-backed “Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally-guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll
    • The loan amount can be up to 250 percent of an employer's average monthly payroll, with a maximum loan of $10 million.
    • The loan can be used to cover payroll costs (salary, wages, payment of cash tips up to an annual rate of $100,000; employee group health care benefits including insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and covered leave), paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
    • If employers maintain their payroll, certain portions of the loans can be forgiven, including payroll, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utility payments.
    • Loans will be available through more than 135 existing SBA-certified lenders in Texas, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.
    • The maximum loan amount for SBA Express loans is increased from $350,000 to $1 million, providing borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
    • Note: Any small business awarded this type of SBA loan cannot receive the retention credit or a deferral on their payroll taxes.
  • Includes $265 million for counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19 through grants to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women's Business Centers, and includes $10 million for the Minority Business Development Agency to provide these services through Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce
  • Expedites access to $10 billion in capital by allowing small businesses who have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loan to request an emergency advance of up to $10,000 within three days to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, and other debt obligations
  • It also allows business with EIDL loans from previous disasters (floods, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.) to apply for paycheck protection program loans and provides a refinancing mechanism for easy repayment.
  • Offers loan forgiveness by requiring SBA to pay all principal, interest and fees on all new and existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for 6 months
  • Allows loan forgiveness for additional wages paid to tipped workers
  • Expands small business benefits to sole-proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and businesses with more than one physical location of less than 500 employees each in certain industries
  • Allows and encourages the Dept. of the Treasury to approve additional lenders for SBA loans, in addition to the 135 already approved in Texas
  • Allows employers and self-employed to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax with half the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022
  • Fixes the tax code to allow Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) eligibility for 100 percent bonus depreciation to allow small businesses to reasonably deduct major spending for improvements made to existing property
  • It relaxes the taxable income limitation on a company’s use of losses and suspends the excess business loss limitation applicable to non-corporate taxpayers for taxable years 2018, 2019, and 2020.   Significantly, taxpayers can carryback losses created in 2018-2020 back five years. [Therefore, some businesses could be provided a 21 percent rate on taxable income and carryback losses into a higher taxable year at 35 percent.]
  • It also accelerates the ability for companies to recover refundable AMT credits.
  • Modifies the limitations on net operating losses (NOL) to allow small businesses to utilize losses for cash flow and liquidity
  • Temporarily increases the amount of business interest expense businesses may deduct on their tax returns from 30 percent to 50 percent of taxable income for 2019 and 2020.  Special rules apply for partnerships
  • This provision sunsets after one year, when the eligibility threshold will return to $2,725,625.
  • Offers a temporary Refundable Employer Retention Credit for businesses who choose not to use the Paycheck Protection Program and continue to pay their employees despite suffering a reduction of at least 50 percent in gross receipts or being forced to shut down because of government orders. Special rules apply depending on the business’ size
  • Provides bankruptcy relief for small businesses by raising the maximum debt threshold for eligibility to $7.5 million and excluding coronavirus-related payments from the federal government from income for purposes of filing bankruptcy

 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Became Law March 18, 2020

Texas-Specific Summary

  • Provides refundable payroll tax credits for small businesses to help employers with the additional costs imposed by the new Emergency Paid Leave Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expansion through the end of 2020
    • The sick leave credit would cover up to $511 per day per employee receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves with a coronavirus-related illness, or $200 per employee per day if the sick leave is to care for a family member with a coronavirus-related illness, including their child if school is closed.  This translates to payroll tax credits of up to $132,000 for sick leave.
    • The family leave credit would cover up to $200 per day, or an aggregate of $10,000.  This translates to payroll tax credits of up to $78,000 for FMLA.
    • Both tax credits are applied against the self-employment tax, covering 100 percent of the self-employed individual’s sick leave or 67% of family leave.
    • Small businesses with less than 500 employees can be exempt by the Secretary of Labor from the paid family leave provisions if complying would put them out of business.

 

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

Became Law March 6, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement

  • Makes $1 billion in disaster loan subsidies available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and non-profit organizations impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak
    • This funding could enable SBA to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans, and also appropriates $20 million to administer these loans.
 

FAQ's

So many of the workers laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak are Texans who rely on tips from customers to supplement their income.  That’s why in the CARES Act, Congress included incentives for small businesses like restaurants, salons, and hotels to pay their workers additional income in lieu of tips.  That additional income from their employers is eligible for loan forgiveness, meaning the Small Business Administration can loan the money to the eligible employer at no cost, without collecting repayment of the loan from the employer.

Unfortunately, many Texans have been laid off due to social distancing guidelines, through no fault of their own.  Too many Texans are left without income, yet they still have bills to pay and families to feed.  That’s why it was a priority for Sen. Cornyn to temporarily expand benefits to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment, like self-employed Texans and independent contractors, including uber drivers and Instacart deliverers, and those who work at nonprofits.  Congress also increased unemployment benefits for unemployed individuals by $600 a week on top of the state benefits through July, and lengthened the duration you can receive unemployment by 13 weeks after an individual has exhausted state benefits.

Nonprofits

Sen. Cornyn has been working to provide relief for Texas nonprofits struggling to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Texas’ extensive nonprofit network reaches all corners of our state, and Sen. Cornyn has successfully delivered multiple legislative solutions to keep them afloat, allowing them to serve their communities and their employees, during this crisis.

 Download a printable PDF version of this information here.

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Became Law March 27, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement and Texas-Specific Summary

  • Incentivizes charitable giving by increasing the amount Texans can deduct from their taxes for charitable contributions
    • It allows taxpayers to deduct up to $300 in cash contributions to churches and charitable organizations in 2020 whether they itemize their deductions or not.
    • For individuals who itemize their deductions in 2020, it suspends the 50 percent adjusted gross income limitation.
    • For corporations, it increases the 10 percent adjusted gross income limitation to 25 percent of taxable income.
    • It also increases the limitation on deductions for contributions of food inventory from 15 percent to 25 percent.
  • Expands access for private nonprofits to Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the Small Business Administration
    • You can apply for an SBA Disaster Loan at the SBA website.
  • Expedites access to $10 billion in capital by allowing small businesses and nonprofits who have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loan to request an emergency advance of up to $10,000 within three days to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, and other debt obligations
  • Directs the Dept. of the Treasury to target loans for nonprofit organizations and businesses between 500 and 10,000 employees
    • The funds received must be used to retain at least 90 percent of the recipient’s workforce with full compensation and benefits through September 30, 2020.
    • The recipient must not outsource or offshore jobs for the term of the loan plus two years.
  • Allows and encourages the Dept. of the Treasury to approve additional lenders for SBA loans, in addition to the 135 existing SBA-certified lenders in Texas
  • Provides deferral of employer payroll taxes to those who do not use the Paycheck Protection Program with half the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022
  • Offers a temporary Refundable Employer Retention Credit for all 501(c) organizations who do not use the SBA-backed Paycheck Protection Program and continue to pay their employees despite suffering a reduction of at least 50 percent in gross receipts or being forced to shut down because of government orders
    • This provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid from March 13 through December 31, 2020 by eligible employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • For organizations with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employee wages qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order.  For organizations with more than 100 full-time employees, this provision applies to wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to COVID-19-related circumstances.
  • Provides emergency unemployment relief for nonprofit organizations by providing funding for states to reimburse nonprofits for half of the costs they incur through December 31, 2020 to pay unemployment benefits
  • Establishes a $350 billion SBA-backed “Paycheck Protection Program” to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally-guaranteed loans to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veterans’ organizations, and 31(b)(2)(c) tribal organizations who maintain their payroll
    • To apply for an SBA Interruption Loan, please contact your local creditor. Loans will be available through more than 135 existing SBA-certified lenders in Texas, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.
    • The loan amount can be up to 250 percent of an employer's average monthly payroll, with a maximum loan of $10 million.
    • The loan can be used to cover payroll costs (salary, wages, payment of cash tips up to an annual rate of $100,000; employee group health care benefits including insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and covered leave), paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
    • If employers maintain their payroll, certain portions of the loans can be forgiven, including payroll, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utility payments.
    • The maximum loan amount for SBA Express loans is increased from $350,000 to $1 million, providing borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
    • Note: Any organization awarded this type of SBA loan cannot receive the retention credit or a deferral on their payroll taxes.
  • Provides direct relief for eligible members and employees
  • This bill provides a recovery check of $1,200 for each Texan earning up to $75,000 and a check of $2,400 for a couple making $150,000 or less, plus $500 per child. 
  • This applies to Texans with or without income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits. Individuals who are a dependent of another taxpayer are not eligible to receive a check.
  • The amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds $75,000, and the amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000 or joint filers with no children with incomes exceeding $198,000.
  • The IRS will base these amounts on the taxpayer’s 2019 tax return, but if the taxpayer has not yet filed, the rebate will be based on the taxpayer’s 2018 return.  If the amount received by an individual is incorrect based on old tax returns, an adjustment will be made in next year’s tax returns only to reflect a higher amount the individual should have received.\

 

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

Became Law March 6, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement

  • Makes $1 billion in disaster loan subsidies available for nonprofits, small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and small aquaculture producers impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak
    • This funding could enable SBA to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans, and also appropriates $20 million to administer these loans.

 

FAQ

The CARES Act encourages Texans to give to their local nonprofits by providing tax incentives all Texans can take advantage of.  All taxpayers can deduct up to $300 in contributions to charitable organizations and churches in 2020, whether they itemize their deductions or not.  If you do itemize your deductions this year, the CARES Act suspends the 50 percent adjusted gross income limitation, allowing you to deduct even more.  For corporations who give back, it increases the 10 percent adjusted gross income limitation to 25 percent of taxable income.  And lastly, it increases the amount of food donations you can deduct.

Yes, nonprofit employees that have been laid off can now access unemployment benefits because of the CARES Act.  Beforehand, many nonprofit employees were not eligible because nonprofits typically don’t pay into the unemployment insurance system.  But through the CARES Act, Congress extended unemployment benefits to cover all sorts of workers, including those who have worked at nonprofits and those who are self-employed.

Yes, religious organizations organized as 501(c)(3)s are eligible for small business loans.  These organizations can apply for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loans, which are fully federally-backed and may be forgiven, but they must meet the same qualifications as other small businesses to take advantage.  Each organization should contact its local creditor and Small Business Development Center for technical assistance and case-by-case analysis of each of their unique circumstances. 

Airline and Aviation Industry

As Texans responsibly practice social distancing and stay home to keep themselves and their neighbors safe, Texas’ aviation industry has taken a hard hit.  Should these businesses become insolvent during this crisis, the economy and all travelers will suffer long after the virus is contained.  Sen. Cornyn worked to pass a bill providing a lifeline to severely affected industries like airline companies and aviation technology suppliers. By responsibly injecting dollars back into the economy, Congress can help airlines keep employees on their payroll and Americans in a better position to take flight once this period of uncertainty is over.

Download a printable PDF version of this information here.

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Became Law March 27, 2020

Sen. Cornyn’s Statement and Texas-Specific Summary

  • Provides pandemic relief for aviation workers through financial assistance for the exclusive use of employee wages, salaries, and benefits in the amounts of up to $25 billion for passenger air carriers, up to $4 billion for cargo air carriers, and up to $3 billion for airline contractors
    • Includes $100 million for administrative fees associated with providing this financial assistance
  • Provides $32 billion in payroll assistance grants for airlines and supporting industries
  • Provides $500 billion to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund to stabilize key national industries by providing loans, loan guarantees, and other investments
  • Authorizes the Federal Reserve to leverage Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund to provide approximately $4 trillion in direct assistance to various industries, cities, and states
  • Provides $500 billion in secured loans to affected businesses and establishes an Inspector General and Oversight Board to provide accountability for the loan program
  • Suspends certain commercial aviation excise taxes applied to the transportation of persons (i.e. ticket tax), the transportation of property (i.e. cargo tax), and aviation fuel
    • Repayments on loans to airlines and other aviation industry sectors will be used to replenish the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, ensuring long-term and sustainable investment in critical aviation infrastructure both in the sky and on the ground.
  • Increases the amount of deductible business interest allowed
  • Allows employers to defer payment of their share of the Social Security tax for two years, requiring half of the amount to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022
  • Offers a temporary Refundable Employer Retention Credit for businesses who continue to pay their employees despite suffering a reduction of at least 50 percent in gross receipts or being forced to shut down because of government orders
    • This provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid from March 13 through December 31, 2020 by eligible employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • For businesses with more than 100 full-time employees, this provision applies to wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to COVID-19-related circumstances.
  • Expands unemployment insurance (UI) for Texas workers, including those employed in the aviation industry:
    • Provides an extra $600 weekly federal UI benefit on top of the state maximum until July 31,2020
    • Funds an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment eligibility for individuals after they’ve exhausted state UI benefits through the end of the year
    • Temporarily expands UI eligibility to include the self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, railroad workers, and those who worked at non-profit entities
  • Provides direct and immediate financial relief to airline industry workers:
    • Allots $1,200 checks to each Texan making less than $75,000 annually ($2,400 for a couple making less than $150,000 annually), plus $500 per child
    • Allows Texans to access their retirement plans for coronavirus-related expenses without an early withdrawal penalty
    • Allows Texans to defer student loan payments for six months with no penalty or interest

 

FAA Resources

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has posted a Frequently Asked Questions document their website which provides some general information on the help the CARES Act provides to the aviation industry. They have also put together a page focused on the COVID-19 outbreak.