On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby issued a statement saying he was pleased with Senate passage of H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides over $2 trillion to provide help in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The CARES Act was passed in the Senate by a vote of 96-0 earlier in the week before it was passed by a voice vote in the House Friday. President Trump signed it into law later Friday.
“This comprehensive package will bring much-needed relief for the people of Alabama and our nation during this mounting emergency,” Shelby said. “I am glad we have finally been able to advance these resources and help protect Americans throughout the country. I am confident that this legislation will pave the way for us to overcome the current economic and public health crisis we are facing, allowing us to emerge stronger on the other side.”
"The legislation provides $339.855 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to aid Americans during the coronavirus crisis," his statement noted. "More than 80 percent of the total funding provided in the coronavirus emergency supplemental appropriations division of the package will go directly to state and local governments."
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said in a statement Friday, "Our country is going through the worst public health crisis since the flu pandemic of 1918. The coronavirus impact is unprecedented, and as we navigate these unchartered waters it’s critical that serious, thoughtful solutions are put forward. That is why I voted in favor of the Phase 3 stimulus package today, known as the CARES Act.
"Although this $2 trillion bill is not perfect, I believe it is necessary as it provides vital funding for Alabama and the entire nation. President Trump and Leader McCarthy negotiated a deal that leaves no one behind, providing financial relief for families, small businesses, veterans, and rural communities that desperately need broadband infrastructure. I will continue to work with my colleagues on possible corrections to this legislation and potentially another bill this spring if more relief is needed.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said in a statement Friday, “I’m glad the House moved quickly to pass this economic relief bill and that President Trump will sign it in to law today. We need to make sure that folks can get the benefits that we fought so hard to include – like direct payments for workers, relief for small businesses, and billions of dollars to shore up our hospital and support our front-line health care workers – as quickly as possible. This will certainly not be the last step we take, though. While I am working to make sure Alabamians are getting these resources without delay, I’m already working to identify priorities for the next package we’ll take up.”
The Republicans in the delegation sent out releases trying to explain what was in the package. Shelby issued the following numbers after the bill passed in the Senate:
In his weekly column on Friday, Aderholt detailed the spending, pointing out the need for rural broadband, which has been an issue raised in teaching state students as they stay at home to learn this spring.
"As you may recall, I sent a letter to President Trump last week asking that funds be included in this stimulus to address rural broadband," Aderholt said. "I’m excited and appreciative that money will allocated in every category I requested."
A total of $340 million in rural broadband funding was in the bill, he said, including $200 million for FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program, $100 million to provide financing for rural broadband through the ReConnect program, $25 million for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine programs and $15 million for Rural Telehealth Programs LHHS & HRSA.
In the area of agriculture, he pointed out $14 billion replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and $9.5 billion for farmers and ranchers affected by COVID-19.
Veterans were also represented in the bill, with $19.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, to be used for the following:
• $14.4 billion to expand in-patient care and purchase test kits.
• $2.15 billion to expand telehealth.
• $2.1 billion for veterans receiving care for coronavirus from community providers.
• $606 million for the VA to expand bed space and prepare temporary facilities.
• $150 million for state veteran homes to help them serve more patients.
• $2.8 million to support Armed Forces Retirement Homes.
Other funding Aderholt noted in the column included:
• Families and individuals are going to receive immediate financial assistance, broken down by income. The full credit amount ($1,200 individuals, $2,400 couples, $500 for children) is available for individuals with income at or below $75,000 ($112,500 for heads of household), and couples with income at or below $150,000. And if you have children, you will receive an additional $500 per child.
• $3.5 billion for childcare services.
• $900 million for Low Income Home and Energy Assistance Program.
• $1.5 billion for Economic Adjustment Assistance, which will provide small businesses with capital.
• $562 million for the Small Business Administration to administer economic injury disaster loans.
• $50 million to help small and medium-sized manufacturers recover.
• 501c3 non-profits are eligible for 7(a) loans.
• Small businesses can hire back previously laid-off employees and still have those loans forgiven.
• Employee Retention Credit will provide a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee paid by employers.
• Employers with 100 or fewer employees – all wages qualify for the credit no matter what
• Churches that are registered as 501(c)3 are eligible to receive funds.
• $36.1 billion for the Department of Transportation to keep airports, transit systems, and passenger rail safe and operational.
• $31 billion for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.
• $15.8 billion for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
• $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition.
• $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants.
• $4 billion for Homelessness Grants.
• $1.5 billion for Economic Assistance Development Grants.
• $100 million for Emergency Management Program Grants.
• $100 billion for rural hospitals and other health care providers.
• $1.5 billion for CDC Funding for State Public Health Departments.
• $1.1 billion for grants to emergency managers, firefighters, and state and local law enforcement.
• $425 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
• $200 million for Emergency Food and Shelter Grants.