Update on Federal Actions for COVID-19 Emergency Funds


The Trump Administration and leadership from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are engaging in discussions on a third potential COVID-19 relief package.
 
Previous attempts have failed so far in the Senate to advance S. 3548, the CARES Act. The House Majority released their yet-to-be-numbered proposal on March 23.
 
The amount of aid in a third package could eclipse $2 trillion dollars, including $300 billion towards helping small businesses, $208 billion in loans for companies facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, $150 billion for other distressed areas of the economy, and $20 billion in grants targeted towards public transit.
 
This follows the passage, within the past two weeks, of Public Law (PL): 116-123, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 and PL: 116-127, Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
 
On Friday, March 13, the President made a National Emergency Declaration, thereby invoking the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law (PL) 100-707, which was enacted in 1988 and empowers the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist state and local governments during "natural catastrophes" and coordinate the nation's response. This would allow the federal government to tap into the over $45 billion in emergency funds through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF).
 
States can request a 75% federal cost-share for expenses that include emergency workers, medical tests, medical supplies, vaccinations, security for medical facilities, and waive certain hospital requirements permitting greater access to treatment, all in an effort to enhance state’s and local’s abilities to combat the Coronavirus.
 
The President also announced that the federal government would be seeking public/private partnerships to expedite testing for the Coronavirus, and waiving interest on all student loans.
 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided a list of products they recommend to use as disinfectants for the COVID-19/Coronavirus.
 
Several states and metropolitan areas in the United States have enacted some form of sheltering in place or mandatory closings of non-essential operations in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
 
According to the CDC, as of March 23, there have been more than 41,000 cases in the United States, and more than 500 deaths attributed to the Coronavirus.