Today, Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) traveled to Washington, D.C. to vote in favor of coronavirus economic response legislation that is now headed to the President’s desk for his signature. The CARES Act passed the House this afternoon and will provide economic relief for Granite State small businesses, workers, health care professionals, and families.
“Today, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to vote in favor of historic, bipartisan legislation to provide much-needed support for our health care system and economy,” said Kuster. “We are faced with an unprecedented public health and economic crisis with the spread of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and across the United States. I was proud to vote in favor of the CARES Act today to protect the public health and economic interest of millions of American families whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. As I traveled to our nation’s capital to cast my vote, health care workers and first responders are continuing to work on the frontlines of this health emergency. We owe them, and those who work at our grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential businesses, a debt of gratitude.”
“We are living in a time of stress and uncertainty, and I want to assure Granite Staters that we are working to support them in every way we can,” Kuster continued. “The bipartisan legislation we passed today is another step in our ongoing effort to ensure that the American people, workers, and families have the resources necessary to get through this public health crisis. This legislation is historic and unprecedented, but it’s necessary. The health of the American people and the vitality of our economy are at stake.”
Rep. Kuster has been advocating for resources for New Hampshire health care professionals and first responders, as well as small businesses and employees in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Reps. Kuster and Pappas held their third telephone town hall on Wednesday to discuss COVID-19, take questions, and provide an update to New Hampshire residents. More than 14,000 Granite Staters joined the call. Last week, Kuster called on Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to act immediately with a robust COVID-19 response package to support New Hampshire's health care system, provide economic relief to small businesses and workers, ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely in response to this crisis.
Here are just a few of the numerous initiatives in this historic piece of legislation that will benefit the residents of New Hampshire.
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that New Hampshire will receive approximately $1.25 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit Granite Staters.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of nearly $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.
- More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
- Transit Agencies: Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented. This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. New Hampshire will receive an estimated $500 million under this program.
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, New Hampshire will receive more than $7 million. In addition, the bill provides an additional $2 billion for these grants that will be allocated by HUD to the most hard-pressed areas.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports child care and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Our state will receive more than $11 million under this emergency appropriation
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. The Granite State can expect to receive more than $5 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. New Hampshire will receive more than $4 million under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards to help agencies cope with the public health emergency. The minimum award for our state is $5.448 million. In addition, states can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration. Granite Staters can expect to receive more than $3 million for these purposes.