Congressional Action

Important Congressional Updates 

Congress and the entire United States government are actively responding to the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Pennsylvania’s Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a coordinated response to the virus.

Congressman Smucker supported and voted in favor of nearly $8 billion in supplemental appropriations to ensure that all of our federal agencies, state and local partners are prepared. For more information on the emergency supplemental appropriation, click here. 

On March 12, 2020 Congressman Smucker held teletown hall events for residents of PA-11 in Lancaster and York counties. You can listen to the call with York County residents here, it featured York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler and Dr. David Gasperack, Vice President and Regional Medical Director for Wellspan Medical Group. 

On March 14, 2020 Congressman Smucker supported H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Read Congressman Smucker's statement on the legislation here.  The legislation provides additional support to families and small businesses in responding to COVID-19, including temporary emergency paid leave, providing additional assistance to states for unemployment insurance and ensuring COID-19 tests are free to individuals. For more information on this legislation click here. 

On Friday, March 27, 2020 Congressman Smucker was in Washington, DC to support the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Click here to read his statement on final passage of the bill. The legislation provides direct support to families, small businesses, and hospitals. For a topline summary of the CARES Act, click here. 

Below are summaries of the major provisions of the CARES Act: 

  • Individual Provisions, click here for additional information
    • Individuals will receive a one-time tax rebate of $1,200 to individuals and $500 per child to those with a valid Social Security number. There are no earned income or tax liability requirements to receive these rebate checks. The full rebate amount is available for those with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples. These rebates will be fully phased out for individuals making $99,000 and for couples making $198,000. 
    • Additionally, for seniors, mandatory minimum distributions from their retirement accounts would be able to keep their capital invested instead of being forced to cash out to draw on that capital without penalty, which would be suspended for 2020. Similarly, the bill also waives the 10% penalty on coronavirus-related early distributions from 401(k)s and IRAs, which applies to distributions made at any time during 2020.
  • ​Small Business Provisions, click here for additional information: ​
    • Paycheck Protection: Forgiveness For Small Business Loans for Keeping Employees: The bill creates a “paycheck protection program” for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The “Paycheck Protection Program” would provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.
  • ​Unemployment Compensation, click here for more information. 
    • Includes $250 billion to Expand Unemployment Benefits: Provides economic relief and much-needed support for workers by making a significant investment in unemployment benefits.
    • Unemployment Benefits for More Americans: Makes sure self-employed and independent contractors, like Uber drivers and gig workers, can receive unemployment during the public health emergency. The bill also includes support to state and local governments and nonprofits so they can pay unemployment to their employees.
    • More Money for a Longer Period for More Workers: Makes benefits more generous by adding a $600/week across-the-board payment increase through the end of July. In addition, for those who need it, the bill provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow.
    • Temporary Provisions: The expansion in unemployment benefits expires at the end of 2020 in recognition of the temporary nature of this challenge.
  • ​Health Provisions, click here for more information. 
    • The bill provides over $140 billion in appropriations to support our health system, including:
      • $100 billion for a new program to provide grants to hospitals, public entities, not-for-profit entities, and Medicare and Medicaid enrolled suppliers and institutional providers to cover unreimbursed healthcare related expenses or lost revenues attributable to the public health emergency resulting from the coronavirus.
      • $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts.
    • $11 billion to support research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
    • $4.3 billion to the CDC to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus 

On April 23, 2020 Congressman Smucker was again in Washington, to support legislation to provide an additional $250 billion replenishment for PPP, an additional $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion to increase testing capacity, and additional funding for the SBA EIDL program. Listen to his thoughts on the legislation here. 

On Friday, May 15, 2020 Congressman Smucker was in Washington, to voice his strong opposition to Speaker Pelosi's three trillion spending wishlist. 

On December 21, 2020, Congressman Smucker supported providing additional significant relief to families and small businesses by voting in favor of H.R. 133. The legislation provided for additional direct assistance to families, reauthorized the Paycheck Protection Program to assist small businesses and temporarily extended expanded unemployment assistance. Furthermore, the legislation provided aid to support safely reopening our schools, funding to aid in the distribution of vaccines and makes additional investments in rural broadband so that those who need to continue learning remotely can do so. Click here to read the Congressman's statement on this legislation.  

On March 10, 2021, Congressman Smucker opposed Speaker Pelosi's $1.9 trillion spending wish list, which spent less than 9% of the total funds on public health programs to defeat the virus. Smucker said: "After working together on five previous bipartisan pieces of legislation to help the nation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, congressional Democrats have decided to go it alone. They voted down good faith efforts to improve this legislation and to make the spending more targeted to help those impacted by COVID-19. Every Member of Congress supports continued relief to those in need, but Democrats are going on a spending spree, sending funds to places where it does not need to go and not even requiring the dollars to be spent this year. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said, “gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to return to its prepandemic level in mid-2021” without any additional spending." Read his full statement here.