The US Senate passed H.R. 748, the CARES Act, Wednesday night and the House voted Friday to send the bill to the President. The bill appropriates more than $2 trillion as an economic stimulus effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within the final proposal, a $150 billion stabilization fund for state and local governments was secured that MML and NLC had advocated for with our congressional delegation. The $150 billion will be distributed to states and directly to local governments that have a population greater than 500,000. Local governments of less than 500,000 population would receive any funding from the state’s allocation. Early estimates show Michigan receiving over $3.8 billion from this fund.
The bill also provides money for community development block grants and provides relief to the municipal bond market by allowing the purchase of municipal securities (with maturities greater than 6 months) in the secondary market.
In comments from our partners at NLC, one key item they were unable to get corrected relates to the previous federal stimulus bill, public law 116-127 (HR 6201), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Under this new law, governmental employers are required to provide paid sick leave and paid emergency family leave. However, unlike most employers, governmental employers will not get the benefit of the tax credits for providing these benefits.
Below you will find a list of key items that NLC had been advocating for in the Senate bill based upon the latest version they were able to review before passage:
Federal Aviation Administration, Airport Improvement Program (AIP) – $10 billion to maintain operations at our nation’s airports that are facing a record drop in passengers. AIP funds will be distributed by formula.
Essential Air Service (EAS) – $56 million provided to maintain existing air service to rural communities. This funding is necessary to offset the reduction in overflight fees that help pay for the EAS program.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Transit Infrastructure Grants – $25 billion for transit providers, including states and local governments across the country, for operating and capital expenses. Funding will be distributed using existing FTA formulas.
Amtrak – Provides $492 million in grants for the Northeast Corridor and $526 million in grants for the broader national network to cover revenue losses related to coronavirus. In addition, funding is provided to help states pay for their share of the cost of state supported routes.
- RURAL DEVELOPMENT – $145.5 million
- RURAL BUSINESS COOPERATIVE SERVICE – $20.5 million
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – $900 million to help lower income households heat and cool their homes.
- $770,000 for the Superfund program to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally for necessary expenses for cleaning and disinfecting equipment or facilities of, or for use by, the Environmental Protection Agency
- Economic Development Administration: $1,500,000,000
- Manufacturing Extension Partnership: $50,000,000
- Legal Services Corporation: $50,000,000
Small Business Administration
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans: $562,000,000
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance: $1,250,000,000
- Project-Based Rental Assistance: $1,000,000,000
- Public Housing Operating Fund: $685,000,000
- Community Development Block Grants: $5,000,000,000
- Homeless Assistance Grants: $4,000,000,000
- Housing for the Elderly: $50,000,000
- Housing for Persons with Disabilities: $15,000,000
- $25,000,000 for U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program
- $100,000,000 extension for U.S. Department of Agriculture ReConnect rural broadband competitive grant/loan program
- $200,000,000 for Federal Communications Commission telehealth pilot program
Law Enforcement, Public Safety & Criminal Justice
- Resources for Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement: $850 million for the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG)
- Federal Bureau of Prisons: $100 million
- Federal Law Enforcement: $55 million for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Attorneys
- Federal Judiciary: $7.5 million for three accounts in the Judicial Branch.
- Family Violence Prevention Services: $45 million to support families during this uncertain time, and to prevent and respond to family and domestic violence, including offering shelter and supportive services to those who need it.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Defense Production Act: $1 billion to allow the Department of Defense to invest in manufacturing capabilities that are key to increasing the production rate of personal protective equipment and medical equipment to meet the demand of healthcare workers all across the nation.
- Assistance to Firefighter Grants: $100 million for personal protective equipment for first responders.
- Disaster Relief Fund: $45 billion to provide for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. Reimbursable activities may include medical response, personal protective equipment, National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, safety measures, and community services nationwide.
- Emergency Management Performance Grants: $100 million for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to support coordination, communications, and logistics.
- National Guard: $1.4 billion for deployments to sustain up to 20,000 members of the National Guard, under the direction of the governors of each state, for the next six months in order to support state and local response efforts.
- FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program: $200 million
The National Conference of State Legislatures has also provided the following summary of the Senate’s action with additional links to supplementary information – NCSL link.
Speaker Pelosi and officials with the Federal Reserve have indicated the potential for additional additional legislative or administrative stimulus support and both have identified state and local government needs as candidates for additional support. We will provide additional information as it becomes available following the expected House action and signature by the President.
Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and [email protected].