$2 Trillion CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Bill
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, announced the passage of the historic $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congresswoman Waters played an integral role in drafting this landmark legislation, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by the president.
“As our country grapples with the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, I am so pleased with the strong, bipartisan efforts of my colleagues to protect working families and the least of these during this difficult time,” said Congresswoman Waters. “During this time of stress and uncertainty, every American needs to know that their government is there to support them without hesitation. This latest piece of legislation is an important step in our ongoing effort to act decisively on behalf of the American people and ensure workers and families have the resources they need today and throughout this unprecedented crisis.”
The $2 trillion economic security package – the largest in our nation’s history – includes many initiatives that will directly benefit the State of California:
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that our state of California will receive approximately $15.3 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents through this program.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new Small Business Administration (SBA) borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for ventilators for patients and the personal protective equipment (PPE) desperately needed by our health care workers, including n95 masks, gowns, and gloves.
- More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
- Passenger Airline Workers: Includes $50 billion in grants and direct lending for passenger airlines “that shall exclusively be used for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits” for airline workers, including the pilots, flight attendants, and ticketing agents based at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), who have been impacted by the unprecedented decline in air travel in response to the pandemic.
- Airports and Airport Workers: Includes $10 billion for airports and a separate $3 billion just for certain airport workers, including baggage-handlers, security officers, airline caterers, and other contractors. Additionally, the package includes hundreds of billions in funds for small businesses, relief for which business owners operating in airports may qualify.
- Transit Agencies: Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented. This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. Our state of California will receive $3.75 billion under this program.
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, our state will receive $237 million. In addition, the bill provides an additional $2 billion for these grants that will be allocated by HUD to the most hard-pressed areas.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports child care and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Our state will receive $348 million under this emergency appropriation.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Our state will receive $75 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. Our state will receive $96 million under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards to help agencies cope with the public health emergency. The minimum award for the state of California is almost $42 million, and Los Angeles will receive an additional minimum award of $20 million. In addition, states and local governments can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration. Our state will receive $36 million for these purposes.
This bill marks the third phase of the House Democratic Caucus’ legislative efforts on behalf of working families, since the coronavirus started spreading across the United States. Previously, House Democrats negotiated and secured an important package of measures that put families first by guaranteeing free testing for Americans – regardless of income or insurance coverage. The bill, known as the Families First Coronavirus Protection Act (H.R. 6201), which passed the House with strong bipartisan support, also increased Medicaid funding, strengthened food security programs like food stamps (SNAP) for children and seniors, and enhanced unemployment insurance and paid sick leave for workers. The bill followed an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental package that provided public health funding for prevention and preparedness, financial support for small business owners, and expanded Medicare services for seniors.
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