To comply with the guidance of health authorities, many businesses on Main Street have sadly been forced to close their doors overnight. The CARES Act comes to the aid of our small businesses and their workers. Specifically, it includes emergency grants totaling up to $10,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses cover operating costs. In addition, it provides for SBA to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing loans. Of great importance to workers, the legislation establishes the Paycheck Protection Program to help keep the small business workforce on the payroll. For our health workers fighting on the front lines across the nation, the CARES Act replenishes vital supplies like masks, respirators and other medical equipment. It also provides reinforcement supplies and resources to bolster state and local response efforts. The CARES Act comes to the aid of hard-hit industries struggling in one way or another. For example, the package provides emergency assistance for the agriculture industry to ensure that heightened demand for food can be met. For airlines and related businesses that are suffering due to the sudden drop in air travel, the package allocates loans and loan guarantees to sustain them. Finally, I worked very hard to >ensure tribal nations are equipped to >face and fight the unknown challenges ahead with this coronavirus – just like any other state or local authority. Oklahoma is the proud home to 39 sovereign tribes, and each one plays an invaluable role in the lives and health of their members and provides benefits to the surrounding communities as well. I am proud that the CARES Act dedicates generous resources specifically for the response efforts of tribal nations. This includes funding for the Indian Health Service, food and nutrition programs, housing and energy assistance, economic relief and education programs. As the federal government continues to put its full weight into fighting COVID-19 and dealing with the wide-reaching consequences, remember that winning this war still requires the collective effort of every American. Continue heeding the guidance outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the President’s Coronavirus Task Force (coronavirus.gov) as well as updates provided locally by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (coronavirus.health.ok.gov). That means practicing social distancing, thoroughly and frequently washing your hands, not touching your face and daily disinfecting surfaces. Remember, even though we must keep our distance from others, we can and should still look after each other. Pick up the phone to check on your family, friends and loved ones. And if you are able, I hope you will consider giving back to your community, whether by donating blood or other resources. To learn about some of the best ways to get involved, I encourage you to review guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help). As we face the unknowns in the days ahead, please know that my office is here to help you get answers. You can call my office at (405) 329-6500, visit my website to send an email (cole.house.gov/contact/email) or sign up to participate in a future telephone town hall meeting (cole.house.gov/telephone-town-hall).
After spending the prescribed number of days in self-quarantine, I am grateful that I never experienced any symptoms of #COVID19, and I feel fine. I remain committed to doing my part to #slowthespread. https://t.co/OepGsbosg4— Rep. Tom Cole (@TomColeOK04) March 28, 2020
Tom Cole, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is serving his eighth term in Congress as the elected representative of Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District. He is recognized as an advocate for taxpayers and small business, a proponent for a strong national defense and a leader in promoting biomedical research. He is considered the foremost expert in the House on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. He and his wife, Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.
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