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Federal Response and Resources

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Congress continues to work to mitigate the full-scale impacts of the spread of COVID-19 across the country. To date, Congress has passed three bipartisan emergency response bills.

The first package, signed into law on March 6, is the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074). This package provides $8.3 billion dollars to fund the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine, provides public health funding for state and local health departments, and supports small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Specifically, this package includes:

  • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, especially to state & local health agencies;
  • Over $3 billion in funding for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers and to improve medical surge capacity; and
  • An estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.

The second package, signed into law on March 18, is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). This package includes numerous measures to counter the economic effects of this pandemic and support working families through this crisis, including:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including those without health insurance;
  • Paid emergency leave with both two weeks of paid sick leave as well as up to three months of paid family and medical leave at no less than two-thirds pay;
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance to extend protections to furloughed workers;
  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including additional funding for SNAP, WIC, the Senior Nutrition program, student meals, and local food banks; and
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaid as states face increased costs.

The third package, passed by the House on March 27, is the CARES Act (H.R. 748). This $2 trillion package makes unprecedented investments in American families, workers, and health care. The legislation includes:

  • Direct cash payments to Americans of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The full payment is available to individuals making up to $75,000 and couples up to $150,000 per year.
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance to allow workers, on average, to receive their full pay for four months. The bill also ensures laid-off workers are protected, no matter the size of the business that employs them and includes those who are self-employed and gig economy workers. It also allows furloughed workers to stay on as employees and simultaneously receive Unemployment Insurance so that they can return to their jobs when this crisis ends.
  • Critical resources for health care providers and front-line workers through $150 billion in funding for our health care system. This funding will support critical investments in personal protective equipment for health care workers, testing, health care supplies, workforce and training, new facility construction, expanded research into COVID-19, and telehealth technology for health care delivery.
  • Extensive relief for small businesses, including $10 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide emergency grants of up to $10,000, as well as $17 billion for the SBA to cover six months of payments for businesses with existing SBA loans. There is also $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to allow them to maintain existing workforce and pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • Funding to help industries that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with protections in place for the American taxpayer.
  • Support for students through $30 billion in overall emergency education funding and deferments on student loans.
  • Over $12 billion for affordable housing, rental support and homelessness assistance programs, including a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters living in federally subsidized apartments and homes with federally backed mortgages.
  • Eased retirement rules. This bill waives the additional 10 percent tax on early distributions from retirement accounts for people who have been economically harmed by coronavirus. It also waives required minimum distributions in 2020 from defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) and IRAs. The waiver includes required minimum distributions that are due by April 1, 2020 because the account owner turned 70 ½ in 2019. 
  • Election assistance to help states prepare for complications in upcoming elections as a result of COVID-19.

For more information, visit: Government Response to Coronavirus, COVID-19

Addtional resources from the federal government can be found below: