Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) voted to pass H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help provide medical equipment to first responders and healthcare workers and financial relief to individuals, families and small businesses across the country.
“America is currently facing a grave health emergency with a serious impact on our economy, “ said Rep Lynch. “This latest piece of legislation is an important step in our ongoing effort to protect the American people and ensure workers and families have the resources they need throughout this unprecedented crisis.”
Here are some of the initiatives in the CARES Act that will benefit the residents of Massachusetts:
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities resources to address the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that Massachusetts will receive approximately $2.673 billion.
- $260 Billion in Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for a direct cash payment to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for a married couple.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- Approximately $200 Billion for Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.
- More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
- Transit Agencies: Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented. This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. Massachusetts will receive $1,044,023,423 under this program.
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, Massachusetts will receive $60.8 Million.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports child care and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Massachusetts will receive $45.3 Million under this emergency appropriation.
- 1.3 Billion in Direct Payments to Community Health Centers: $1.3 billion will be available to pay for costs of coronavirus-related care and for lost revenue.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Massachusetts will receive $10,963,000 for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. Massachusetts will receive $17,227,538 under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and . Tribal Grants Minimum Awards to help agencies cope with the public health emergency. The minimum award for Massachusetts is $12,944,000. In addition, states can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration. Massachusetts will receive $8.3 Million for these purposes.