Senate Passes Bipartisan Coronavirus Package to Help Americans During the COVID-19 Crisis
The bill provides much-needed help for Michigan families, small businesses, farmers and health care workersTuesday, December 22, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced the U.S. Senate passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act to help Michigan families, workers, farmers and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. This bill provides critical funding for health care providers, extends unemployment insurance, provides direct payments to Americans, supports Michigan businesses, invests in an effective vaccine distribution plan, and helps our children get back into the classroom.
“Families across the country are struggling to pay their bills, keep their families healthy and put food on the table. This survival package is long overdue. Thanks to Democrats and Republicans working together, we have finally been able to pass a short-term survival package to help Michiganders get through the next few months. This bill also supplies the funding needed to safely and effectively distribute the new COVID-19 vaccines. While I am relieved that short-term help is on the way, more must be done in the New Year to make sure Michigan families and businesses have the help they need,” said Senator Stabenow.
The bill provides:
MAJOR HEALTH CARE INVESTMENTS
Mental Health and Addiction Funding
$4.5 billion for behavioral health care services to help Michigan families deal with the mental health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Stabenow secured $850 million to fund Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics across the country. Michigan currently has 18 clinics that have received over $88 million in funding to support community behavioral health services.
$19.65 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for obtaining vaccines, $8.75 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and states for distributing vaccines and $3.25 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile.
Health Care Providers
$9 billion for health care providers, including $3 billion for the health care Provider Relief Fund, and $3 billion for physicians who would have been impacted by previously scheduled payment reductions.
Testing and Contract Tracing
$22.4 billion to states to strengthen their testing and contract tracing programs. The bill also includes $2.5 billion specifically to meet the needs of underserved areas, including both communities of color and rural communities.
ECONOMIC STABILITY FOR FAMILIES AND WORKERS
Extends all pandemic unemployment programs and restarts enhanced weekly payments at $300 per week through March 14, 2021. Furthermore, the bill extends assistance for those who are self-employed or gig workers through March 14, 2021 and allows individuals who have not exhausted their benefits as of March 14, 2021 to continue those benefits through April 5, 2021.
Apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA or 1-866-500-0017.
Direct Support to Americans
A $600 cash payment along with an additional $600 per child. This money, which is not subject to income tax, begins to phase out for people making more than $75,000 a year.
To receive this cash payment, you must have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or be receiving Social Security benefits.
$13 billion to combat food insecurity, which is on the rise because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Stabenow led the bipartisan effort to address rampant food insecurity by increasing SNAP benefits by 15% for six months which will increase benefits for millions of Americans facing hunger.
The bill also provides $400 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help fund the important work done by food banks. The bill will include $13 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to provide food for seniors and includes $175 million for senior nutrition programs through the Older Americans Act, like Meals on Wheels.
The bill also improves the P-EBT program, which provides additional nutrition benefits for families with children to help cover the cost of meals children would have otherwise received at school or in daycare. Schools and daycares that are continuing to provide meals also receive additional support to offset increased costs and funding shortfalls as a result of the pandemic.
$284 billion for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans with a focus on helping the smallest businesses and includes $15 billion for live venues, theaters and cultural institutions.
The bill also provides $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions to get financial assistance more directly to low-income and minority communities. This helps minority-owned businesses in Michigan, which have been hit hardest during the COVID-19 crisis.
$45 billion in emergency funding to transit agencies, airlines and airline contractors, airports, states, the motorcoach industry, and Amtrak.
Housing and Rental Assistance
Extends the CDC eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021, and includes $25 billion to establish a new program that provides emergency rental assistance to state and local governments. These funds will be targeted to families impacted by COVID that are struggling to make the rent and may have past due rent compounding on itself. These families will be able to utilize this assistance for past due rent, future rent payments, as well as utility and energy expenses. The bill reserves $800 million for Native American housing entities.
Relief for Farmers
$13 billion for support to farmers, ranchers, and processors impacted by the coronavirus. This includes supplemental payments to row crop and specialty crop producers, as well as additional authorities to assist livestock and dairy producers.
The bill also includes $1.5 billion to distribute food from farmers to those in need as well as support for farmers, farmers markets, and food processors so they can respond to COVID-19, including for worker safety protections. The bill also supports local food systems by including $100 million for Specialty Crop Block Grants, $100 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program, $75 million for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program, and $75 million for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program.
$54.3 billion to public K-12 schools and $20 billion for higher education institutions so that Michigan students can learn in a safe environment.
$10 billion to states in flexible emergency funds to support child care providers and provide child care assistance to families. The bill also provides $250 million for Head Start providers, which provide early childhood education to children in Michigan.
United States Postal Service
$10 billion in funding for the United States Postal Service so post offices in Michigan can pay salaries, cover operational costs, provide personal protective equipment for their workers, and many other COVID-19 related costs.
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