Legislative Efforts to Address Coronavirus

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 [PL: 116-123]

  • A comprehensive $7.7 billion package to dramatically increase efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, treat Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 and support research to find a vaccine. This bipartisan, bicameral emergency supplemental appropriations package provides a surge in funding at every level – local, state, federal and international – to meet the growing challenge we face.
    • Nearly 85 percent of this funding will be spent here in the U.S., with a large portion going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which in turn will be directed to states and localities in the form of public health preparedness grants. 
    • The CDC has awarded $560 million in initial funding to states, localities and territories from this pot of money—including $6.2 million to Arkansas to support the state’s COVID-19 response.
    • Appropriated money for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to train health care workers on the front lines and to develop and approve diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines related to the virus. 

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act [PL: 116-127]

  • Delivers necessary resources to combat the coronavirus and support hardworking Americans and families who are facing financial challenges due to this outbreak. 
    • Funds paid emergency leave for workers.
    • Makes testing widely available at no additional cost to patients.
    • Enhances food security initiatives. 

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The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act [PL: 116-136]

  • Helps individual Americans negatively affected by this crisis get by and stave off a massive economic disaster.
    • Increases our investment in hospitals and healthcare providers—the men and women on the front lines of this fight.
    • Sends checks to millions of American households to offset the financial impact of the crisis and allow for a much-needed injection of liquidity into our economy.
    • Expands unemployment insurance while stabilizing industries to prevent mass layoffs. 
    • Other steps, such as delaying federal student loans payments for six months, will be taken to help affected individuals.
    • Dramatic relief will be provided to the lifeblood of our economy—our small businesses—which have taken a massive financial hit. Loans will be delivered to small businesses to help continue operations, and if those funds are used for payroll and other vital necessities to maintain services, they will be forgiven.

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FY2021 Omnibus and COVID Relief and Response Act [P.L.: 116-260]

  • Support for medical efforts to identify, treat and combat COVID-19:
    • Vaccines: $20 billion for purchase of vaccines and another $8B for distribution;
    • Testing: $20 billion to assist states with testing;
    • Provider Relief Fund: $20 billion for the Provider Relief Fund, including the use of unobligated funds, which helps make up for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19;
    • Telehealth: $250 million dedicated to telehealth, with an additional $300 million specifically for rural broadband buildout.
  • Relief for struggling Americans includes:
    • Direct Checks: A second round of direct checks of $600 for individuals and qualifying dependents;
    • Unemployment Assistance: Temporary extension of all unemployment assistance created by the CARES Act and allows a supplemental $300 per week for unemployed Americans through March 14, 2021;
    • Rental Assistance: $25 billion for emergency rental assistance, targeted for individuals who lost their source of income, and an extension of the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021;
    • Child Care Assistance: $10 billion for child care programs that allow parents to return to work;
    • Hunger Relief: $13 billion for emergency food assistance, including increased SNAP assistance, as well as funding for food banks and food pantries. 
  • Help for small businesses:
    • Extends and Enhances the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Extends the PPP and adds deductibility for PPP expenses; 
    • Expands Eligibility for PPP: Gives businesses experiencing severe revenue reductions an opportunity to apply for additional loans. Nonprofits, local newspapers and small broadcasters are now eligible for the program. Ensures that churches and faith-based organizations are eligible for the program;
    • Funding for Entertainment Venues: Dedicates $15 billion for live entertainment venues, independent movie theaters and museums;
    • Replenishes Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program: $20 billion to assist businesses that were hardest hit by the economic impacts of the coronavirus. 
  • Funding to safely reopen schools:
    • K-12 and Higher Education Institutions: Includes $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening for in-person learning.  

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