INCENTIVES ALERT: $1.9 trillion COVID relief package approved by US Congress

$1.9 trillion COVID relief package approved by US Congress

New legislation provides latest economic stimulus, pandemic relief & extensions of key economic development programs

With enhanced unemployment benefits set to expire, US Congress has officially approved a new COVID-19 relief and recovery package with approximately $1.9 trillion in funding, also known as the American Rescue Plan.

This latest support and stimulus package, which has been sent to the White House and is expected to be signed by President Biden, delivers expanded and extended unemployment relief, robust funding for states, counties, and local governments, direct stimulus checks, new funding lines for small businesses, including expanded support for restaurants and venues, payroll support programs for targeted industries, including aerospace manufacturers, money for vaccine distribution, contract tracing, and testing, along with a list of provisions to support healthcare, housing, and rental assistance, among other funding lines and legislative fixes.

Direct economic development funding was not as extensive as in the CARES Act approved last year. Nevertheless, state and local leaders will have extensive funds to leverage to deliver critical support for communities and businesses.

The following are among the key provisions approved in the latest stimulus and relief package:

Economic Development, Community, and Business Support Funding

  • Provides $3 billion for Economic Development Administration programmatic funding, w/ 15% allocated for tourism-related initiatives
  • Allocates $30 billion in Federal Transit Administration grant funding
  • Allocates $8 billion in relief funding for Airports
  • Provides $1.6 million to the Seaway International Bridge
  • Delivers $1.5 billion for Amtrak operations, including $820 million for the Northeast Corridor
  • Establishes a $3 billion temporary payroll support program for US Aerospace manufacturing businesses
  • Extends Employee Retention Tax Credit through Dec 31, 2021
  • Expands and enhances benefits for impacted railroad workers
  • Exempts Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants from tax
  • Provides an additional $15 billion for the Targeted EIDL Advance program
  • Establishes and provides $25 billion for a new restaurant assistance program through the Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Establishes and provides $175 million for a Community Navigator pilot program to ensure equitable participation in COVID-19 relief programs
  • Provides an additional $1.25 billion for the SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Gran program
  • Provides an additional $840 million in direct appropriations to support the COVID-19 relief programs at SBA
  • Provides $50 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF)
  • Exempts Restaurant Revitalization Grants from tax
  • Reauthorizes the State Small Business Credit Initiative Act of 2010 and extends $500 million for Tribal governments
  • Allocates $10 billion for Treasury to support small business financing through local governments
  • Establishes $2.5 billion for states to support socially and economically disadvantaged-owned
  • Provides $15 billion for airlines and contractors under the Air Transportaion Payroll Support Program
  • Appropriates $219.8 billion for the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, with $4.5 billion allocated to the U.S. Territories, $20 billion to Tribal governments, $755 million for the District of Columbia, and $195.3 billion to the states at a minimum of $500 million per state
  • Appropriates $130.2 billion for the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, with $45.57 billion allocated to metropolitan cities on a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula, and $19.53 billion reserved for nonentitlement units of local government, and $65.1 billion directly to counties
  • Establishes and provides $570 million for the Emergency Employee Leave Fund
  • Delivers more than $15 billion for Veterans Affairs, including $400 million for veteran retraining assistance
  • Provides $4 billion for Food Supply Chain and Agriculture Pandemic Response efforts, including grants and loans for farmers, processors, and markets
  • Provides more than $1 billion to support socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers and forest land owners and operators

Direct COVID-19 Response Funding

  • Provides $7.5 billion in vaccination activities for the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Provides $5.2 billion for vaccination supply chain activities at the Dept for Health and Human Services (HSH)
  • Delivers $500 million to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) related to the coronavirus
  • Provides $46 billion for COVID testing and tracing activities at HHS
  • Provides $1.75 billion to the CDC for SARS-COV-2 genomic sequencing and surveillance
  • Delivers $750 million to CDC for global heath efforts
  • Allocates $500 million to CDC for data modernization and analytics infrastructure
  • Provides $7.6 billion for community health centers through HHS
  • Allocates $1.8 billion for testing, contact tracing and mitigation activities
  • Provides $10 billion in funds for COVID-19 emergency medical supplies

Social, Healthcare, and Direct Relief Support

  • Extends $300 weekly unemployment benefit bonus through Sept 6th
  • Provides $1,400 stimulus checks for families earning less than $150,000
  • Allocates $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Provides more than $19 billion for housing rental assistance
  • Allocates $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers
  • Provides $100 million for rural housing rental assistance
  • Provides $500 million for water assistance programs
  • Allocates $5 billion for homeless assistance programs
  • Provides nearly $10 billion for the Homeowner Assistance Fund
  • Expands the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for under 6) and makes it fully refundable & advanceable
  • Provides more than $38 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program and similar activities
  • Expansion of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program
  • Provides $1 billion for Head Start programs
  • Expands Child and Dependent Tax Credit by allowing families to claim 50% of eligible child care expenses
  • Increases premium tax credits through 2022 to reduce health care premiums
  • Subsidizes COBRA coverage through end of FY 2021
  • Creates health care subsidies for unemployed persons ineligible for COBRA
  • Establishes and funds a $1 billion Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund
  • Extends paid sick time family leave credits through Sept 30, 2021 and increases wage claim levels
  • Provides $500 million for emergency rural health care grants via the Secretary of Agriculture
  • Increases Child Care Entitlement to States funding to $3.55 billion and waives more than 80% of matching requirements
  • Extends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit calculation changes through Sept 30, 2021
  • Provides nearly $7 billion for Indian Health Service activities
  • Allocates $1.75 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program
  • Allocates $1.75 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment Block Grant program

Education and Arts Funding Support

  • Provides more than $128 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
  • Provides more than $39 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
  • Delivers more than $850 million for grants to Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools
  • Establishes a $7.59 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund for educational devices
  • Provides $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Provides $135 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Provides $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • $150 million for the labor worker protection activities

Interested in reading through the final legislation? Here’s a copy of the final bill text.

Want to learn more and check to see if your business is eligible? Connect with an expert today!