WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted to pass a $900 billion emergency COVID-19 relief package that will provide desperately needed assistance to New Mexico families, small businesses, hospitals, and public health systems.
The COVID-19 relief package will extend unemployment benefits; deliver direct payments to millions of American families; provide crucial relief to schools, small businesses, and health care systems; and support the production and distribution of a vaccine. The senators also voted to pass a spending package that includes all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021.
“New Mexicans and Native communities have weathered the COVID-19 crisis with resilience, but struggling families and communities need more help. This hard-fought compromise is short of what is needed and long overdue, but I am supporting it to deliver urgently-needed financial resources and public health support to New Mexicans and Tribes to help defeat this virus and rebuild our economy,” said Udall. “This bill will invest in the safe vaccine distribution, provide extra unemployment assistance to out of work New Mexicans, support New Mexico small businesses, provide rental assistance to families trying to keep a roof over their heads, send direct payments to Americans, and give support to families battling food insecurity. And while this bill does include some support for state, local and Tribal governments – including a critical extension of the CARES Act deadline to use existing relief funds – it is unconscionable that Senate Republicans blocked direct funding for our teachers, hospitals and essential public health and public safety services that our communities depend on. I’m glad that this bipartisan agreement takes important steps toward delivering aid to those who need it– but I strongly urge Congress to work with President-elect Joe Biden to do much more in the months to come to help our families overcome this crisis so that our communities recover and prosper.”
“Help for New Mexico’s hospitals, public health systems, and struggling New Mexicans is on the way. I am encouraged to see funding included to extend unemployment insurance and rental assistance, support small business loans, and put into place resources necessary to distribute vaccines effectively and equitably. The sooner we start to see vaccinations go up, the sooner we can finally put an end to this pandemic and return to a normalized economy,” said Heinrich. “While I’m pleased we finally came to this agreement, nobody in Washington should be patting themselves on the back. Americans shouldn't have to wait so long for their elected leaders to do the right thing. As we look forward to the next congress and the incoming Biden administration, I will keep fighting to make these partisan battles and last-minute deals a thing of the past. There is so much more work ahead to help our communities heal, to help families recover, and to help rebuild our economy.”
The emergency COVID-19 relief package includes provisions that support the following:
- $286 billion Direct Economic Relief for Workers and Families
- This bill provides an additional $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, through March 14, 2021.
- This bill also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others in non- traditional employment, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of federally- funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits.
- Provides an additional round of Economic Impact Payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each child dependent. This means a family of four will receive $2,400 in direct payments.
- $325 billion for small business:
- $284 billion for first and second PPP forgivable loans, dedicated set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist restaurants, and expanded PPP eligibility for 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including destination marketing organizations, and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters.
- $20 billion is included for new EIDL Grants for small businesses in low-income communities.
- $3.5 billion for continued SBA debt relief payments.
- $2 billion for enhancements to SBA lending programs.
- $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- Transportation: $45 billion in transportation funding to provide relief to transit agencies, airlines and airline contractors, state transportation agencies, and Amtrak, which have all been significantly impacted by coronavirus as travelers are urged to stay home and demand is down.
- Health: $20 billion for procurement of vaccines and therapeutics, $9 billion for vaccine distribution including $4.5 billion directly to states and localities to support vaccine administration. Furthermore, the deal gives more than $22 billion to states to support public health programs that mitigate COVID, including testing, contact tracing and other initiatives that are needed to keep people safe.
- Education: $82 billion in education funding to provide relief to states, K-12 institutions, and higher education institutions that have all been significantly impacted by coronavirus.
- Emergency Rental Assistance: $25 billion to establish a new and historic program to provide emergency rental assistance to local housing organizations across the country. These funds will be targeted to families impacted by COVID that are struggling to make the rent and may have past due rent compounding on itself. These families will be able to utilize this assistance for past due rent, future rent payments, as well as utility and energy expenses.
- Nutrition: provides $26 billion in agriculture and nutrition funding. Of the $26 billion, $13 billion will be used for direct payments to farmers who have suffered losses due to the coronavirus. The remaining $13 billion will be used to combat food insecurity which is on the rise due to the economic impacts of the pandemic.
- U.S. Postal Service: $10 billion in emergency relief to the U.S. Postal Service in the form of a grant. The Postal Service can use these funds to offset revenue losses, maintain payrolls, cover operational costs, provide personal protective equipment for postal workers, and many other COVID-19 related costs.
- Child Care: $10 billion in emergency funds for child care providers through the Child Care and Developmental Block Grant (CCDGB) program. These grants provide immediate relief to child care providers who are currently in operation or have been temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
- Broadband access: The agreement invests $7 billion to increase access to broadband, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit to help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.