COVID-19 Relief Package #3
Name: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Latest Action: Signed into law on March 27, 2020.
Summary: The third relief package signed into law so far, the CARES Act provides financial assistance to Americans in the form of direct payments to households with middle and lower income levels. This will amount to $1,200 for each adult, with additional payments going to families with children. It also includes:
- An extended unemployment insurance program for laid-off workers will allow for four months of full pay, rather than the usual three months. It will also raise the maximum unemployment insurance benefit by $600 per week. It will apply to traditional workers at small and large businesses, as well as those who are self-employed and workers in the gig economy.
- More than $150 billion for the health care system, including funding for hospitals, research, treatment and the Strategic National Stockpile to raise supplies of ventilators, masks and other equipment. Of that, $100 billion will go to hospitals and the health system, and $1 billion to the Indian Health Service.
- $150 billion for to state and local governments, to address spending shortages related to the coronavirus pandemic, with $8 billion set aside for local governments.
- $350 billion in the form of loans for small businesses impacted by the pandemic; some of those loans could be forgiven.
- Nearly $25 billion for food assistance, including nearly $16 billion for SNAP and nearly $9 billion for child nutrition
- More than $30 billion in emergency education funding for colleges and universities, states and school districts.
COVID-19 Relief Package #2
Name: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Latest Action: Signed into law on March 18, 2020.
Summary: The second COVID-19 relief package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201), would provide $1 billion in nutritional aid, expand access to COVID-19 testing and expand sick leave benefits. Relevant education- and workforce-related provisions include:
– $500 million for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
– $400 million for the Commodity Assistance program
– Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits for families with at least one child who would be receiving free and reduced-price meals and whose school has been closed for at least 5 consecutive days.
– $160 million for home delivered meals.
– $80 million for the Congregate Nutrition Services program under the Older Americans Act.
– Providing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with authority to grant waivers (until September 30, 2020):
- Of statutory and regulatory provisions under the Child Nutrition and School Lunch Acts in order to provide meals and meal supplements in the event of school closures due to COVID-19;
- Of provisions in the School Lunch Act which prevent increased Federal costs when implementing summer food service programs;
- To States for the purposes of providing meals and meal supplements in a manner that provides appropriate safety measures. These waivers would be automatically applied to States that seek them without further application by the State;
- To provide non-congregate feeding under the Child and Adult Care Food program, if the waivers are connected to COVID-19;
- Of requirements regarding the nutritional content of meals, if the waivers are connected to COVID-19;
- Of administrative requirements under WIC for States, if the waivers are connected to COVID-19; and
- Of the physical presence requirement at the time of WIC certification (current law requires WIC recipients to be physically present when they are certified for benefits). Anthropometric and bloodwork requirements would also be allowed to be waived.
– Providing an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide:
- Paid leave, connected to a public health emergency related to COVID-19, to employees at organizations with fewer than 500 total employees to care for a child if childcare is unavailable. Employees would have to be employed for at least 30 days by their employer and the U.S. Secretary of Labor would be empowered to grant hardship exemptions for certain businesses with fewer than 50 employees and to exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders.
- The first 10 days of such leave may consist of unpaid leave, with employees being able to substitute vacation, paid leave or sick leave for unpaid leave. Employers are required to provide paid leave for leave days after such initial 10-day period. The amount of pay is required to be at least 2/3rds of the pay an employee would receive based on an employee’s normally scheduled hours of work. Paid leave would not have to exceed $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate
– Providing an employer-provided paid sick leave benefit:
- The benefit would be provided to employees of private businesses with fewer than 500 employees and employees of public entities for illness or quarantine related to COVID-19 or the care of someone who is quarantined due to or ill because of COVID-19. Employers may exempt health care providers or emergency responders from this benefit
- Full-time employees can receive up to 80 hours, with part-time employees receiving up to the number of hours they would normally work over a 2-week period.
- The paid sick leave benefit would only be in effect through the end of 2020.Limits exist on daily and aggregate paid sick leave amounts provided to employees.
- The U.S. Secretary of Labor would be empowered to grant hardship exemptions for certain businesses with fewer than 50 employees and to exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from the benefit
COVID-19 Relief Package #1
Name: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
Latest Action: Signed into law on March 6, 2020
Summary: The first COVID-19 relief package, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R.6074), included $8.3 billion in emergency funding. The bill was focused on vaccine development, research and equipment stockpiles, and supporting state and local health budgets. The bill did not contain any education- or workforce-related provisions.