Congress Passes $484 Billion Coronavirus Relief Package

April 30, 2020

Legislative News

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The United States Congress has passed H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Also simply known as the "COVID-19 3.5" relief package, the act includes more support for hospitals and healthcare providers, with $75 billion earmarked to provide reimbursement for expenses related to COVID-19, including public health services for uninsured individuals who have been infected by the virus. It includes $225 million in direct funds to rural health clinics through grants and other funding avenues.

The Act provides $11 billion in direct funding for states, localities and territories to scale up COVID-19 testing specifically to meet needs related to laboratory capacity, contact tracing and employer testing. H.R. 266 mandates those states and localities receiving this funding to report how the resources provided are used for testing and COVID-19 community mitigation policies.

Despite active efforts by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and other state and local organizations, H.R. 266  does not include much-needed aid to state and local governments or funding to offset lost revenue shortfalls that state and local governments are experiencing across the country. Guidance on Coronavirus Relief Fund Guidance for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Governments can be found here and FAQs regarding use of the state and local government CARES Act funding can be found here. For additional information, see this NACo article.

For more information on federal issues impacting counties, contact Paul Sugg.