Emergency Federal Funding Measures Approved To Aid COVID-19 Pandemic
As COVID-19 continues to expand its reach, the nation’s capital is reacting very quickly and media sources have been providing myriad updates on this coronavirus pandemic.
Congress has enacted or is considering a number of legislative actions that would offer relief to businesses and individuals hit hardest by COVID-19. Measures being considered include various tax relief, and healthcare and unemployment benefits. Businesses that are struggling and employees who are fearful about what may transpire may benefit from these emergency measures.
On March 6, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a nearly $8 billion emergency funding measure for government entities such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Health, the Indian Health Service, and the Food and Drug Administration. This measure is intended to develop and purchase vaccines, medical supplies and products, as well as provide state and local governments with preparedness grants, training and other forms of assistance.
On March 13, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced an agreement on a second bill entitled the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” This legislation would provide testing, paid emergency leave to qualified employees, increased Medicaid funding and expanded unemployment insurance, among other needs. The Senate is expected to pass this bill as early as today, March 16, and the president has already announced he will sign the bill into law.
Congress has started to draft a third bill to focus on the adverse economic impacts of the coronavirus, due to the social distancing in place and expanding throughout the nation. This bill is expected to provide targeted economic relief through grants, loans, tax incentives, or tax credits to affected industries from coast to coast.
Additional relief measures may be made available in the near future, and given the nature of measures under consideration, employers and employees should be familiar with potential assistance to help them through these unprecedented and challenging times.