This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) following an earlier vote this week by the Senate. The bill is intended to provide the country with $2.3 trillion of aid to counter the physical and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is the third COVID-19 bill to be developed by Congress, following the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201).
The CARES Act, the single largest economic stimulus package in American history, faced a brief challenge in the House when Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) attempted to force a recorded roll call vote on the bill. Congressmembers from both sides of aisle traveled quickly to Washington to establish a quorum, denying Massie’s attempt and passing the legislation with a voice vote.
Following the successful House vote, the bill will now be
sent to the President, who is expected to quickly sign it into law.
Below are key items from the CARES Act, including a table
of top-level figures, and summaries of the legislation’s primary areas of
support, including support for state and local government, transportation,
individuals, and businesses.
Top Level Funding Figures (~$2.3 Trillion Total)
FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
State & Local Government Support (New
Coronavirus Relief Fund) ($150 Billion)
The legislation provides $150 billion specifically for
states, tribes, territories, and some local areas. And provides $8 billion for
Tribes and $3 billion for territories (including, oddly, the District of
Columbia, which is normally treated as a state for such purposes). Of the
remaining $139 billion, funds are distributed to each state based on the
state’s population relative to the population of the nation as a whole.
Of the amount each state receives, up to 45% of funds are
available to “units of local governments,” which is defined as a county,
municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of
general government below the State level with a population of 500,000 or
greater. A local area would qualify to receive a portion of funding that is
equivalent to the proportion the local government’s population bears to the
population of the state as a whole.
SNAP, Family Services and Housing ($42 Billion)
$25 billion in additional funding will be provided for
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and for other child
nutrition programs to support states and localities in meeting growing need for
food assistance as a result of coronavirus.
$4 billion in Homelessness Assistance Grants would be
provided to state and local governments to address coronavirus among the
CDBG ($5 Billion)
The bill provides $5 billion through the Community Development Block Grant
Program (CDBG) for services for senior citizens, the
homeless, and public health services. This includes $2 billion distributed
using the normal CDBG formula; $1 billion to states based on a formula
developed by HUD for COVID-19; and $2 billion to states and localities based on
a formula to be developed by HUD within 30 days.
FEMA Disaster Relief Funding ($45 Billion)
$45 billion is being provided in funding for FEMA with
$25 billion going to areas with major disaster declarations, like Washington
State and New York State. The remaining $15 billion will be used for all
purposes allowed under the Stafford Act.
EDA Funding ($1.5 Billion)
The bill allocates $1.5 billion to the Economic
Development Administration through September 30, 2022. This will help regions mitigate
the local economic crisis and rebuild impacted industries such as tourism or
manufacturing supply chains.
USDA-Rural Development Programs ($145.5
The stimulus package provides an additional $20.5 million
for the Rural Business Program under the Rural Business Cooperative Service to
support loans for rural business development programs. It allocates $25 million
for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program which helps provide
broadband services to rural communities to support vital distance learning and
telemedicine. The bill also provides $100 million in grants to the ReConnect
pilot program to provide broadband services to rural areas to meet the Federal
Communications Commission speed standards of 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps
Dislocated Workers National Reserve ($345
The bill provides $345 million for dislocated workers
(through September 30, 2022) to prepare for and respond to layoffs resulting
from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homeless Assistance Grants ($4 billion)
The stimulus package provides $4 billion to enable state
and local governments to provide effective, targeted assistance to contain the
spread of COVID-19 among homeless individuals. It will also provide
homelessness prevention funding for individuals and families who would
otherwise become homeless because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Project-Based and Tenant-Based Rental
Assistance ($2.25 billion)
The package provides $1 billion for project-based rental
assistance to make up for reduced tenant payments as a result of coronavirus.
$1.25 billion for tenant-based rental assistance will be provided to preserve
Section 8 vouchers for seniors, the disabled, and low-income working families.
Section 202 Housing for the Elderly ($50
This $50 million in funds will help maintain housing
stability and services for low-income seniors.
Section 811 Housing for Persons with
Disabilities ($15 million)
The bill provides $15 million to make up for reduced
tenant payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In total, the bill provides $114 billion for transportation-related
purposes, $88 billion of which for aviation-related grants (as well as industry
loans and loan guarantees). Of the remaining $26 billion, most of that goes to
transit ($25 billion) and Amtrak ($1+ billion).
Transit ($25 Billion)
The bill provides $25 billion for “Transit Infrastructure
Grants” to allow transit agencies to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to
coronavirus.” These funds are treated as if they are provided under 49 U.S.C.
5307 (Urbanized Area Formula Grants) and 49 U.S.C. 5311 (Formula Grants for
Rural Areas), but are distributed in the same proportion as the funds in fiscal
year 2020 appropriations under 5307, 5311, 5337 (State of Good Repair Grants)
and 5340 (Apportionments based on growing States and high density States
formula factors). Funds under 5337 are added to 5307 funds and administered
The funds will be distributed in seven days based on
FY2020 apportionment formulas. The limitation on the use of funds for operating
expenses in urban areas is waved. All of the funds, regardless of which program
the funds come through, is for “reimbursement for operating costs to maintain
service and lost revenue due to the coronavirus public health emergency,
including the purchase of personal protective equipment, and paying the
administrative leave of operations personnel due to reductions in service.”
These additional operating funds DO NOT need to appear in a TIP, STIP, or LRTP
Finally, the funds for this section are from General
Treasury Funds, not the Highway Trust Fund, and they are not subject to any
limitation on obligations. Eligible projects can be funded with 100% federal
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund
The bill contain a provision that impacts new receipts
into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, treating these funds as mandatory
spending not subject to spending caps (and therefore making the funds easier to
spend; previously, these funds would require a spending offset). This provision
does not affect the spending down of the current HMTF balance (which is $9
billion or so), but does prevent the balance from continuing to grow. This
provision will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021 or upon passage of the next Water
Resource Development Act (WRDA).
Amtrak ($1 Billion)
Just over $1 billion is provided for Amtrak, including
$492 for Northeast Corridor grants and $526 million for National Network
grants. Reduces required payment from states for “State-Supported Routes” and
sets aside $239 million from National Network grants in lieu of an increase in a
Aviation ($42 Billion [Excluding Loans &
Much of the transportation-related funding in the bill is
provided for aviation purposes, including $32 billion in direct grants, $46
billion for loans and loan guarantees (out of the $500 billion loan and loan
guarantees program), $10 billion for airport grants, and suspension of
collection of Airport and Airway Trust Fund excise taxes for the remainder of
the calendar year. In addition, an additional $56 million is provided for Essential
General Highway Provision
The bill temporarily allows truck weight limits on the
Interstate system to be exceeded for trucks carrying emergency supplies, to be
in place through September 30, 2020 so long as the disaster declaration remains
Unemployment Benefits ($260 Billion)
The bill changes unemployment insurance benefits in several dramatic ways. The bill provides unemployed workers with their basic state unemployment benefits (about $300 per week) plus a federal supplement of $600 per week for up to four months. The bill also extends state benefits for 13 weeks. This results in up to 39 weeks of benefits for many workers. In addition, the bill provides incentives for states to waive their waiting periods, and makes unemployment compensation available to part-time, self-employed, and gig workers as well.
Notably, this bill does not contain an amendment which
was requested by many local government partners to remove a provision that
requires states, local governments and their political subdivisions and
instrumentalities to provide paid sick leave, while prohibiting these
governmental entities from receiving the tax credits available to private
Stimulus Checks ($290 Billion)
Checks will be sent to Americans in amounts of $1,200 per
adult and $500 per child. Check eligibility will be phased out above $75,000 of
income for individuals and $150,000 of income for couples.
Tax Reductions for Individuals ($20 Billion)
The bill would provide several tax reduction avenues for
individuals including allowing HSA purchases of menstrual Products and
temporarily waiving retirement minimum distribution rules.
FOR EDUCATION SYSTEMS
Education Spending ($32 billion)
An education stabilization fund for states, school
districts, & higher education institutions will be provided $31 billion.
Other Department of Education programs will receive approximately another $1
billion in funding.
FOR HEALTH SYSTEMS
Hospitals and Health Care ($180 Billion)
$100 billion of funding in the bill is being put toward
hospitals responding to COVID-19. Other funding will go to drug access; CDC,
FDA, NIH, IHS, & other health-related agencies; care for veterans; and the
replenishing of the nation’s stockpile of medical supplies.
Small Business Support ($377 Billion)
Small business funding will be provided in three ways:
$10 billion of funding is being provided for Economic
Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for grants up to $10,000 to cover immediate
operating costs for businesses.
$350 billion is allocated for the Small Business
Administration (SBA) to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Use of
that money is flexible as long as businesses keep their workers employed
through the end of June.
Lastly, $17 billion will be for the SBA to cover 6 months
of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
Large Business Support ($510 Billion)
A large portion of the bill will be used to provide loans
and loan guarantees for large companies, particularly for those industries
hardest hit by COVID-19 such as airlines.
Tax Reductions for Businesses ($280 Billion)
The bill would loosen caps imposed by the Tax Cuts
& Jobs Act on interest deductibility & operating losses, provide
payroll tax credits for businesses who retain workers at a loss, and delay
employer payroll tax payments from 2020 to 2021 & 2022 $12. The bill would also introduce a very
COVID-19-specific provision allowing liquor distillers to make hand sanitizer
For more information on the CARES Act check out these