On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration allows the administration to utilize the Stafford Act, a federal law governing disaster-relief efforts. The declaration makes $50 billion in emergency funding available to states and territories.
The emergency declaration follows a $8.3 billion emergency COVID-19 aid package signed by the President on March 6, 2020, known as the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. At least $1.05 billion of this package will go to state, local and tribal efforts through grants and cooperative agreements with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or as reimbursements from the Federal Government. The initial federal aid package was focused largely on public health concerns.
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Aid Package was enacted. The bill includes free COVID-19 testing for those uninsured, emergency paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave programs, unemployment assistance, food aid and federal funding for Medicaid.
A third phase of federal COVID-19 relief, the CARES Act, was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The relief package, as amended on April 24, 2020, allocates an estimated $2.8 trillion to battle the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (Exhibit 7). The package is the biggest fiscal stimulus package in modern American history. As one of the main categories of the stimulus bill, state and local governments will receive $150 billion to help fund the unanticipated costs of fighting the pandemic. Additionally, the bill establishes a ~$500 billion lending fund for businesses, states and cities. Eligible taxpayers will receive a $1,200 direct payment and $500 for each dependent child.
On April 24, 2020, the PPP and Health Care Enhancement Act was signed into law as an amendment to the CARES Act. The $484 billion package includes $310 billion for the SBA’s PPP with $60 billion allocated for loans made by small lenders and community-based institutions, $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and $10 billion for the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Grant program. It also includes the HHS Hospital and Provider Grants under the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund that provides an additional $75 billion to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue due to COVID-19. Finally, it provides $25 billion for necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests.