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News & Press: Legislative

Federal stimulus provides support for essential services

Thursday, March 26, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: mpuaonline
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March 26, 2020 -
The U.S. Senate today passed H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which contains $339.855 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to aid Americans during the coronavirus crisis.  The comprehensive relief package was advanced in the Senate by a vote of 96-0 and will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.  A vote in the House is expected Friday.

The wide-reaching bill includes a $1,200 one-time check for individuals who make up to $75,000. That amount would scale down until it reached an annual income threshold of $99,000, where it would phase out altogether. Families would receive $500 per child. These monies presumably should be spent on essentials, such as utilities. The White House is estimating that the checks could arrive as soon as 3 weeks from passage.

H.R.748 included several measures that could impact municipal utilities.  $350 billion was authorized for loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to help pay for expenses like utilities, rent, and mortgages that maintain the existing workforce. The stimulus bill also included $454 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and investments in support of the Federal Reserve‚Äôs lending facilities to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities. Emergency appropriations adding $900 million to the LIHEAP program were also included in the legislation. $45 billion was added to the FEMA disaster relief fund for reimbursable costs for personal protective equipment, coordination of logistics, safety measures, and community services nationwide.  $100 million for USDA Rural Utilities Service monies were included for rural broadband deployment in areas with less than 10mbps down and 1mbps up.

 

There were no directives on utility shutoffs for nonpayment included in the bill.


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