The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074). This bill provided $8.3 billion to fund the acquisition of medical supplies and develop the treatment of vaccines. Here is the breakdown of where the money is going.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): The CDC would receive a total of $2.2 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
Vaccines, Therapeutics, & Diagnostics: This section would provide over $3 billion for the research & development (R&D) of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
Healthcare Preparedness, Pharmaceuticals & Medical Supplies: This section would provide $1 billion for the procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity.
Food & Drug Administration (FDA): This section would provide the FDA with $61 million to facilitate the development and review, both pre- & post-market, of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines to combat the coronavirus.
Small Business Administration (SBA): This section would allow the SBA to provide up to $1 billion in loan subsidies to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and non-profit organizations which have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Miscellaneous: The State Dept. would receive $264 million for consular operations, emergency evacuations of staff & dependents, and other emergency preparedness needs at embassies around the world. It would also receive $435 million to support health systems overseas; $300 million to respond to humanitarian needs arising in countries with a coronavirus outbreak; $250 million to protect against the effects of an outbreak including economic, security, and stabilization requirements.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). This bill ensures Coronavirus testing for all at no cost to the consumer, provides paid leave related to the outbreak, reforms and expands unemployment benefits during the outbreak and increases funding for food security programs. Here are some of the details of the bill that was signed into law on March 18, 2020.
Emergency paid sick leave: Small businesses will be required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to an employee that have fallen ill or are taking care of someone who is suffering from the Coronavirus.
Family medical leave: The bill expands the Family and Medical Leave Act to include leave needed to care for an employee’s child whose school or care provider is closed due to COVID-19. This leave can be used by employees who have been employed by their current employer for at least 30 days. This applies to any private sector employers under 500 employees.
Tax credits for paid family and medical leave: The legislation has a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of paid family or medical leave wages paid by the small business each quarter. The credit can be used against the employer’s social security taxes and applies to amounts paid to employees who are sick or quarantined. A smaller credit applies to amounts paid to employees caring for a family member or for a child whose school or place of care has been closed. Individuals who are self-employed also qualify for refundable credits. The tax credits would offset not just the 6.2% Social Security portion of payroll taxes on affected wages, but also the separate 1.45% Medicare tax. Limits apply.
Emergency unemployment stabilization.
Provides $1 billion for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits.
On March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748). President Trump signed that bill into law later on the same day. The Senate approved the bill two days prior (96–0) in what can only be described as an overwhelming show of solidarity in the fight against the virus which has brought the global economy to its knees.
At a projected price tag of more than $2 trillion, the CARES ACT is one of, if not the single most expensive pieces of legislation in U.S. history. It will provide direct cash payments to most Americans, forgivable loans for small businesses, liquidity for larger corporations with oversight of that assistance, plus resources for healthcare providers, and state & local governments as they address the coronavirus crisis.
Standing in at 880 pages, this bill seeks to provide financial support to areas where Phases One and Two fell short. The devil is always in the details and more likely than not, people will find sections of the law that have nothing to do with fighting the Coronavirus. This is Washington, D.C., and politicians on both sides will never pass up on an opportunity to squeeze in paybacks to lobbyists or sneak in ideological agendas. Here is a breakdown of how the money is divvied out.
Cash payments: Estimated to total $300 billion.Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400.
The checks start to phase down after that and disappear completely for people making more than$99,000 and couples making more than $198,000.
Extra unemployment payments: The $260 billion estimated cost is subject to change based on the number of people filing for unemployment.
This bill adds $600 per week from the federal government on top of whatever base amount a worker receives from the state. That boosted payment will last for four months.
Gig workers and freelancers: Typically, self-employed people, freelancers, and contractors can’t apply for unemployment. This bill creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year to help people who lose work as a direct result of the public health emergency.
Student loans: Employers can provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. That means an employer could contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn’t have to include that money as income.
Insurance coverage: The bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccines and makes all coronavirus tests free.
Emergency grants: The bill provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
Forgivable loans: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage, and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Relief for existing loans: There is $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already using SBA loans.
Airlines: About $58 billion is allocated to help airlines stay open. One portion of that money is set aside to help cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits divided up as up to $25 billion for passenger air carriers, up to $4 billion for cargo air carriers, and up to $3 billion for airline contractors.
Stock buyback ban: Any company receiving a loan under the program is barred from making stock buybacks for the term of the loan plus one year.
Reporting requirements: All loans, their terms and any investments or other assistance provided by the government must be publicly disclosed.
Oversight: The bill creates a special inspector general to oversee pandemic recovery. That person, along with a special committee, would provide oversight of all loans and other uses of taxpayer dollars.
No benefit for Trump: The president, vice president, members of the Cabinet and members of Congress are barred from benefiting from the money carved out for corporations. That also extends to the “the spouse, child, son-in-law or daughter-in-law.”
All businesses: The bill establishes a fully refundable tax credit for businesses of all sizes that are closed or distressed to help them keep workers on the payroll. The goal is to get those employees hired back or put on paid furlough to make sure they have jobs to return. The credit covers 50 percent of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee.
For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, the credit is for wages paid to employees when they are not providing services because of the coronavirus. Eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees could use the deduction even if they aren’t closed.
Hospitals: There is$100 billion for hospitals responding to the coronavirus.
Community health centers: The bill provides $1.32 billion in immediate additional funding for community centers that provide health care services for roughly 28 million people.
Drug access: There is $11 billion for diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. The bill also includes $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize and expedite the approval of new drugs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC programs and response efforts are getting $4.3 billion.
Veterans’ health care: There is $20 billion set aside for veterans.
Telehealth: The bill reauthorizes a critical telehealth program to extend the reach of virtual doctors’ appointments.
Medicine and supplies: The bill gives $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to increase the availability of equipment, including ventilators and masks. It also boosts hiring for vital health care jobs during the public health crisis and speeds the development of a vaccine, treatments and faster diagnostic.
Child nutrition: There is $8.8 billion to give schools more flexibility to provide meals for students.
Food stamps: $15.5 billion is going to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The money will help cover the expected cost of new applications to the program as a result of the coronavirus.
Food banks: There is $450 million more for food banks and other community food distribution programs.
State And Local Governments
The legislation designates $339.8 billion for programs that will go to state and local governments. It is divided up to put $274 billion toward specific COVID-19 response efforts, including $150 billion in direct aid for those state and local governments running out of cash due to high numbers of cases.
It also includes $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $13 billion for K-12 schools, $14 billion for higher education and $5.3 billion for programs for children and families, including immediate assistance to child care centers.
Temporary student loan relief: All loan and interest payments would be deferred through Sept. 30 without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans.
Work-study funds: It allows schools to turn unused work-study funds into supplemental grants and continue paying work-study wages while schools are suspended.
Students who are forced to drop out: Students who drop out of school as a result of the coronavirus wouldn’t have that time away from school deducted from their lifetime limits on subsidized loan and Pell Grant eligibility. Those students would also not be asked to pay back any grants or other aid they’ve already received.
Other programs: There is a very long list of other areas receiving funding including arts programs, universities, and other institutions. This includes but, is not limited to the following:
· The National Endowments for the Arts & Humanities would receive a total of $150 million in grants, evenly divided between the Endowment for the Arts & Endowment for the Humanities, to help local, state, and regional communities provide continued access to cultural organizations & institutions of learning.
· The Kennedy Center would receive $25 million for deep cleaning, increased teleworking capabilities, and operating & administrative expenses to ensure it resumes normal operations upon reopening.
· The Smithsonian Institution would receive $7.5 million for increased teleworking capabilities, deep cleaning of facilities, and overtime for security, medical staff, and zookeepers.
· $75 million in stabilization grants to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to maintain programming services & to preserve small & rural public telecommunication stations.
For those of you want to view the entire bill in all of it’s spending like there’s no tomorrow glory, you can find a link to it here. There were many websites and law firms that contributed to the bill analysis that was listed on this post. No one person can fully digest in a timely manner the sheer magnitude of the response that has been put forth in these three phases to combat the Coronavirus.
There is a growing sentiment and concern in America that the cure cannot be worse than the problem. The state you live in and the impact felt by COVID-19 will sway your opinion. Some are of the mindset that there should be a nationwide standard on how and when restrictions should be placed and lifted. Coastal states like NY and CA that have been hit the hardest have a different perspective than those in the heartland. We as a country can adjust our response and reopen the economy on a state-by-state basis. When we do, it should be decided by local governments who know their area the best. The Federal Government can only print so much money and more importantly, people can only stay isolated for so long. As we learn more about potential treatment methods we can and must remove the life-saving limitations that have been implemented, and in turn, save the country we love.