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New Stimulus Package Aimed at Small Businesses and Hospital

By Joel Miller posted 04-29-2020 15:26

President Trump signed Economic Stimulus Package 3.5 into law on April 24, as the unemployment crisis deepened, a stark illustration of how federal policymakers continue trying to rescue an unraveling economy.

The legislation will restart a small-business loan program that was swamped by early demand last month and allocate more funds for health-care providers and virus testing.

Policymakers from both parties are already talking about pursuing more large spending bills to try to contain the pandemic’s economic fallout, but this recent measure could be the last one for at least several weeks as disagreements are emerging between the parties about how much more relief should be provided to stem the economic pain. Congress is not scheduled to reconvene until May 4 at the earliest.

The package includes the following resources:
Amendments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and Emergency Grants
  • Increase the appropriation level for the Paycheck Protection Program from $349 billion to $670 billion (many experts are saying another $500 billion will be necessary to address small business payrolls).
  • Increase the authorization level for the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Grants from $10 billion to $20 billion.
  • Create a set-aside for Insured Depository Institutions, Credit Unions, and Community Financial Institutions for the PPP. Community Financial Institutions are defined as minority depository institutions, certified development companies, microloan intermediaries, and state or federal credit unions

New Health and Human Services (HHS) Funding:
  • $75 billion for reimbursement to hospitals and health care providers to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue. Language remains the same as CARES Act. This funding is in addition to the $100 billion provided in the CARES Act.
  • $25 billion for necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests. Specific funding is provided for: $11 billion for states, localities, territories and tribes to develop, purchase, administer, process and analyze COVID-19 tests, scale-up laboratory capacity, trace contacts and support employer testing. Funds are also made available to employers for testing. $2 billion provided to states consistent with the Public Health Emergency Preparedness grant formula, ensuring every state receives funding $4.25 billion provided to areas based on the relative number of COVID-19 cases $750 million provided to tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian health organizations in coordination with Indian Health Service.

Additional Health and Human Service Funding provisions:
  • $1.8 billion provided to the National Institutes of Health to develop, validate, improve and implement testing and associated technologies; to accelerate research, development, and implementation of point-of-care and other rapid testing; and for partnerships with governmental and non-governmental entities to research, develop, and implement the activities.
  • $1 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of diagnostic, serologic, or other COVID-19 tests or related supplies.
  • $22 million for the Food and Drug Administration to support activities associated with diagnostic, serological, antigen, and other tests, and related administrative activities;
  • $825 million for Community Health Centers and rural health clinics;
  • Up to $1 billion may be used to cover costs of testing for the uninsured.

A small bipartisan group in the Senate is working on a new stimulus package focused on assisting states and municipalities who are losing substantial tax revenue due to the economic crisis, and may need to begin to lay off essential services such as law enforcement personnel. Initial estimates on a price tag to help states and cities are in the $500 billion range.