(Honolulu, HI) – U.S. Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) issued the following statement on passage in the U.S. House today of a second huge federal COVID-19 emergency assistance package, the second largest federal rescue measure ever passed by Congress after the CARES Act this past March, and the fifth federal assistance package overall.
“As our COVID-19 public health, economic and social crisis continues on, for far too many Americans this further assistance is not just about stability and stimulus but survival,” said Case.
“Though the delay in enacting this further emergency assistance was inexcusable, the additional $900 billion in federal funding to address critical COVID-19 needs throughout our country could not come at a more critical time for our country and Hawai‘i,” said Case, a member of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for federal funding.
“I especially support the additional assistance to our healthcare frontlines including vaccine distribution, to hard-hit areas of our economy such as travel and tourism, to our small businesses, and to our unemployed workers.”
“But like the CARES Act, our work in making sure this critical assistance gets to where it needs to get throughout our country and Hawai‘i as quickly and fully as possible is just starting.”
“There were also many needs that were unfortunately not addressed in this measure, such as further direct state and local government funding. Finally, it is crystal clear that even this major additional emergency assistance will not be enough to see us all through COVID-19.
“So, I’m already working with my colleagues on addressing those additional needs and delivering further assistance in the early part of the upcoming 117th Congress which begins January 3rd.”
Highlights of the $900 billion relief measure of special interest to Hawai‘i include:
- $120 billion in expanded unemployment benefits: Continued federal assistance to supplement state unemployment benefits, to include $300 per week through March 14, 2021 and the continuation of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
- $166 billion in further direct cash payments to lower and middle-income Americans: Further direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $600 for individuals with incomes of up to $75,000 a year, $1,200 for couples with incomes of up to $150,000 a year, and $600 for each child dependent.
- $325 billion in additional small business relief: Critical additional funding and policy changes to help small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, and nonprofits recover from the pandemic, including:
- More than $284 billion for first and second forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, and key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants.
- $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- $20 billion for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants which are critical to many smaller businesses, and $3.5 billion for continued Small Business Administration debt relief payments.
- $25 billion in emergency assistance to renters: To be distributed by state and local governments for families struggling to stay in their homes. These funds will go to pay for past due and future rent payments, as well as to pay utility and energy bills and prevent shutoffs. Also, an extension of the federal eviction moratorium to January 31, 2021, and further authorization to the President to extend the moratorium through administrative action.
- $73 billion for health and human services: Includes funding for vaccine procurement and distribution, including $20 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for procurement of vaccines and therapeutics, $9 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and states for vaccine distribution, and more than $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile.
Additionally, more than $22 billion, all sent directly to states, for testing, tracing and COVID-19 mitigation programs, $4.5 billion in mental health funding, $9 billion in support for health care providers, and more than $1 billion additionally to the National Institutes of Health to continue COVID-19 research.
- $26 billion for nutrition assistance for hungry families: $13 billion in increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the historic hunger crisis that has left up to 17 million children food insecure, as well as ensure that college students have access to SNAP. This funding will also go to food banks and senior nutrition programs.
Another $13 billion for payments, purchases and loans to farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses due to the pandemic.
- $82 billion for schools: Similar to the CARES Act, these emergency education relief funds include:
- Relief for outlying areas and the Bureau of Indian Education: $818.8 million
- Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund: $4.1 billion
- Includes a set aside for services to private K-12 schools to be administered by public agencies.
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (Public K-12 schools): $54.3 billion
- Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund: $22.7 billion
- $20 billion distributed to all public and private non-profit institutions of higher education.
- $908 million to for-profit colleges to provide financial aid grants to students.
- Includes set-asides of an additional $1.7 billion for Historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and Minority-Serving Institutions and $113.5 million for institutions with the greatest unmet needs or those not served by the primary formula, such as independent graduate schools.
- $45 billion for transportation: Further relief to transit agencies, airlines and airline contractors, airports, state transportation departments, the motor coach industry, and Amtrak, including $15 billion for airline payroll support, $1 billion for airline contractor payrolls, $14 billion for transit, $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion for airports and airport concessionaires, $2 billion for the private motor coach, school bus, and ferry industries, and $1 billion for Amtrak.
- Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions: Further PPP set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), including $9 billion in emergency U.S. Treasury capital investments in CDFIs and MDIs to support lending in low-income and underserved communities, including persistent poverty counties, that may be disproportionately impacted by the economic effects of the COVID–19 pandemic, and $3 billion in emergency support for CDFIs through the CDFI Fund to respond to the economic impact of the pandemic on underserved low-income and minority communities.
· Note: a summary of the measure is attached.