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The CARES Act
U.S. Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) — a significant piece of legislation that seeks to provide approximately $2 trillion worth of economic assistance to consumers and businesses. As per the 800 pages legislations, following are available forState and Local Government:
The legislation designates $339.8 billion for programs that will go to state and local governments. It is divided up to put $274 billion toward specific COVID-19 response efforts, including $150 billion in direct aid for those state and local governments running out of cash because of a high number of cases. Also, the rest will be allocated to specific State and local:
- $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants (The CARES Act authorizes a $5 billion allocation to the Community Development Block Grant. $2 billion would be distributed using the existing formula, $1 billion would go to states based on a formula developed by (HUD) for COVID-19 (the states will then allocate to both entitlement and non-entitlement communities), and the remaining $2 billion will go to the states and localities based on a formula to be developed by HUD within 30 days.
- $170 billion is set aside for K-12 schools and higher education.
- $5.3 billion for programs for children and families, including immediate assistance to child care centers. Additionally, child care providers with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for small business loans of up to $10 million, of which eight weeks’ worth of mortgage/rent, payroll, and utility payments will be eligible for loan forgiveness.
American Rescue Plan allocated another $360 Billion for an economic relief fund to states, territorial and local governments. And an additional $20 Billion for the public transit system. These government will use these funds to support the following –
- Provide economic aid to small businesses and household, and industries highly affected by the pandemic, such as the hospitality and tourism sector.
- Pay premiums to the employees and provide grants to employers.
- To support government services whose revenue was reduced.
- Make investment to improvise the water, broadband, and sewer infrastructure.
President Biden signed The American Rescue Plan in March 2021 which provides the following assistance to state and local governments:
$350 Billion are designated for cities, tribal, state governments, and U.S. territories.
Particular focus was laid upon local government funding to invest in the local infrastructure and expand the broadband network.
The following sectors were supported by the Consolidated Appropriations Act. 2021 –
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were provided $8.75 billion to plan, prepare, monitor, administer and track the various COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was granted $25.4 billion via the Cares Act grants program for hospitals and healthcare providers.
Nutrition and Food Appropriations
U.S. Department of Agriculture was provided grants of $100 million to fund states to administer the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) for the fiscal year 2021
- An additional extension of 15% in the funding of SNAP was incorporated in The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden.
- $1.4 billion for Older Americans Act program which includes nutrition services, home and community service, social isolation, caregiver support and vaccination outreach.
- Community Supplemental Food Program would receive $37 billion to keep the food packages service for seniors available until September 30, 2022.
$9.8 billion was allotted to the surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP) administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It also provides funding to the state department of transportation to address state and local transportation needs.
- $14 billion for transit infrastructure grants.
- $2 billion in funding for airports.
$7.5 Billion for improvising the broadband infrastructure and also establishing an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to fund low-income households a maximum of $50 per month discount in internet service.
$30 Billion in funds for Emergency rental assistance for the homeless.
And an additional $10 Billion for mortgage assistance.
$82 Billion allocated to the Education Stabilization Funds, an CARES Act grant for states, K-12 schools, and higher education institutes administered by the U.S. Department of Education.
Payments to be made for school and education institution employees and contractors during the COVID-19 closure.
FUNDS CAN BE USED FOR COSTS THAT:
Are necessary expenditures incurred due to COVID-19
Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of the date of enactment of this section.
- Were incurred during the period that begins March 1, 2020, and ends December 30, 2020.
Other Significant Provisions
Direct Payments: Cash payment of $1400 for individuals earning up to $75,000 in annual income, heads of households earning up to $112,500, and couples with incomes up to $150,000.
Expanded Unemployment Insurance: Increases payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what State unemployment programs pay. Extension of Emergency Pandemic Unemployment assistance until Sept. 6 for self-employed and part-time employees.
Amendments to the New Paid Leave Mandates: Lowers the amounts that employers must pay for paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act* (enacted March 19) to the amounts covered by the refundable payroll tax credit. Tax credit benefits to businesses that offer paid leaves to employees until September 30.