Third Coronavirus Emergency Response Funding Package Becomes Law

On Friday, March 27, President Trump signed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, into law. Earlier in the day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill, following the Senate who passed it earlier in the week.

The amount of aid included in the CARES Act eclipses $2 trillion dollars, including:
  • Over $300 billion towards helping small businesses, with approximately $208 billion in loans for companies facing hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • $150 billion for other distressed areas of the economy.
Specifically, for transportation, the CARES Act includes:
  • $31.1 billion overall to the U.S. Department of Transportation
  • $25 billion for the Federal Transit Administration for transit providers, and this includes state and local governments for operation and capital expenses, and $1.8 billion specifically for rural transit systems
  • $1.018 billion for Amtrak to assist with operating expenses and cover lost revenue related to Coronavirus
  • $10 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration for the Airport Improvement Program.
Specifically, for water, the CARES Act includes:
  • $5 billion for the Community Development Fund, which funds the Community Development Block Grant program
  • $1.5 billion to the Economic Development Administration to respond to “economic injury” resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, including water utilities
  • $70 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Specific to emergency management programs, the CARES Act includes:
  • $45 billion in emergency funding for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • $400 million to fund FEMA grants
  • $562 million for the Small Business Administration SBA Disaster Loan Program
  • $178 million for the Department of Homeland Security to provide Personal Protection Equipment
In the past two weeks, Public Law (PL): 116-123, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 and PL: 116-127, Families First Coronavirus Response Act have become law to help the country address emergency needs immediately.

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 FEMA to assist state and local governments during "natural catastrophes" and coordinate the Nation's response.

This allows the federal government to tap into the over $45 billion in emergency funds through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which will provide critical aid for states and localities to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, and another $400 million to be provided for grants overseen by FEMA.

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 the abilities of states and locals to combat the Coronavirus.

Additional programs receiving emergency funding include:
  • $158.4 million for supplies and equipment to clean buildings and public areas supporting law enforcement and emergency management operations, and $4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants.
The President also announced the federal government is seeking public/private partnerships to expedite testing for the Coronavirus, and waiving interest on all student loans.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided the following link here, containing a list of products recommended for use as disinfectants for the 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 Coronavirus.