Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the fourth relief measure aimed at combatting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 23 and the President signed it into law on April 24. Although discussions earlier in the week had indicated that additional aid to states and localities, or additional flexibility in the use of previously-appropriated federal aid, might be included in this measure, ultimately the legislation focused on additional funding for loans and grants to small businesses, additional support for health care providers, and funding for testing, personal protective equipment, and disease surveillance and contact tracing. VACo continues to advocate for additional direct, flexible assistance to counties in future stimulus packages.
Key elements of the legislation:
- Provides an additional $321 billion in authorization for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which makes low-interest loans to certain small businesses affected by the pandemic to cover expenses such as payroll, mortgage interest, rent, or utilities. The loans are forgivable if employers meet certain conditions regarding retention of employees. This program was initially established under the CARES Act, but had exhausted its lending authority by mid-April.
- Provides an additional $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants (which offer an advance of up to $10,000 for applicants for Economic Injury Disaster Loans) offered by the Small Business Administration.
- Provides $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund:
- $75 billion to reimburse health care providers for expenses or lost revenues associated with coronavirus
- $25 billion for monitoring and suppression of coronavirus, including $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and tribes for testing, surveillance, and contact tracing; $600 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration for grants to Health Centers; and $225 million for rural health clinics for testing and related expenses.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle