The spread of coronavirus is a public health crisis that demands a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep Americans safe and address the financial impact. Below you can find more information on the work Congress has done so far to address the coronavirus and help Americans directly.
March 11, 2021: The American Rescue Plan Act. This package took immediate steps to address the coronavirus pandemic and economic. Important provisions in the bill include:
- A national vaccination program;
- $130 billion to help safely reopen schools across the country;
- $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans who need it most;
- An expansion of federal unemployment insurance;
- An infusion of $40 billion into the childcare industry to help centers stay open and help families pay for care;
- An expansion of paid family and medical leave for workers to help more women stay in the workforce;
- An expansion of the child tax credit to help lift children and families out of poverty;
- Critical support for small businesses through EIDL grants and expanded PPP eligibility; and
- $130.2 billion for local governments, including nearly $300 million in assistance for Palm Beach County.
December 21, 2020: Emergency Coronavirus Relief and Government Funding Package. This legislation extended the Paycheck Protection Program lending deadline from June 30 to August 8.
- Accelerating Free Vaccine Distribution: Provided billions in urgently needed funds to accelerate the free and equitable distribution of safe vaccines to as many Americans as possible as soon as possible, to implement a strong national testing and tracing strategy with billions reserved specifically for combating the disparities facing communities of color, and to support our heroic health care workers and providers.
- Enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Averted the expiration of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for millions and added a $300 per week UI enhancement for Americans out of work.
- Direct Payments to Families: A new round of direct payments worth up to $600 per adult and child, up to $2,400 for a family of four, for those making under $75,000 a year.
- Strong Support for Small Business: Included over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, and included $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- Rental Assistance: Secured $25 billion in critically needed rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium.
- Supporting Paid Sick Leave: Provided a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the Families First framework.
- Nutrition Assistance for Hungry Families: Included $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the historic hunger crisis that has left up to 17 million children food insecure.
- Education and Childcare: Provided $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including $7 billion to increase access to broadband for students, families, and unemployed workers.
- Global Health: Included an additional $3.36 billion for a total of $4 billion for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance, recognizing that we are not truly safe until the whole world is safe from the coronavirus.
July 2, 2020: Paycheck Protection Program Extension. $900 billion bicameral, bipartisan bill.
June 5, 2020: Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. This legislation increased flexibility and access to PPP loans including by:
- Allowing forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extending the rehiring deadline
- Increasing the current limitation on nonpayroll expenses (such as rent, utility payments and mortgage interests) for loan forgiveness from 25 to 40 percent
- Extending the program from June 30 to December 31
- Extending loan terms from two to five years
- Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans.
March 27, 2020: The CARES Act. This stimulus bill includes the following:
- For fighting the coronavirus: A large investment in hospitals, health systems and state and local governments to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency.
- For our workers: A massive increase in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers.
- For our small businesses: A significant expansion of fast relief for small businesses and makes rent, mortgage, utility costs, and payroll eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
- For our students: Billions in emergency education funding and eliminates income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer.
- For accountability and oversight: Prevents secret bailouts and adds special oversight requirements.
March 18, 2020: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill addressed the following priorities:
- For families’ health security:
- Ensured free coronavirus testing for everyone, including the uninsured.
- Increased funding for Medicaid to support local, state, tribal and territorial health systems, so that they have the resources needed to combat this public health emergency.
- For families’ economic security:
- Provided two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of family and medical leave for eligible workers and enhanced Unemployment Insurance.
- Supported small businesses by fully reimbursing them for providing leave.
- For families’ food security:
- Strengthened nutrition initiatives including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ meals and food banks.
March 6, 2020: The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This funding package of $8.3 billion:
- Committed more than $3 billion to the development of treatments and a vaccine available to all and protected against price-gouging of medicines developed with taxpayer dollars.
- Provided $2.2 billion in prevention, preparedness and response measures, including nearly a billion dollars to help state, local, tribal and territorial health systems.
- The CDC has provided an additional $27.2 million to Florida to aid our coronavirus response.
- Helped families by extending telemedicine services regardless of where they live,
- Supported small businesses, with billions in low-interest SBA loans to those affected.