Follow the Money: CARES Act Update

Congress passed the CARES Act last March, sending many taxpayers $1,200, giving $100 billion to health providers, and boosting unemployment benefits by $600 a week, according to Govtrack. The $2 trillion stimulus bill also sent $150 billion to states and localities across the country. Virginia received about $3.1 billion dollars, with a separate $200 million sent directly to Fairfax County.

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Governor Northam Signs Revised State Budget

Governor Ralph Northam signed Virginia’s new biennial budget, according to a Wednesday press release. The budget is the product of a recent months-long Special Session held by the General Assembly and features key provisions for homeowners, children, and businesses.

“This budget gives us the tools we need to contend with the challenges brought on by the ongoing pandemic,” Northam said in a press release.

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VA Democrats Want To Issue Mandatory ‘Vaccination Cards’ Costing $121 Million

Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.

Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”

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Northam Announces More Money for Closed Schools

Governor Ralph Northam is sending an additional $220 million of Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to Virginia’s schools, according to a Thursday press release. The money is intended to help purchase testing supplies, personal protective equipment, sanitation, and virtual learning technology.

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Commentary: Pelosi Holds Millions of Small Businesses Hostage While Working Families Struggle

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when a lot less was known about the virus and how to counter it, and while the nation was still ramping up production of testing and hospital resources including ventilators needed, 25 million jobs were lost across the country, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Since labor markets bottomed in April, 13.8 million jobs have been recovered, as states have begun steadily reopening in the months since.

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Gov. Northam Announces Flawed Rebuild VA Grant Fund Eligibility Expanded

The eligibility for the REBUILD! VA Grant Fund for businesses, nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 has been expanded to a wider scope of small businesses, according to a news release. 

The expansion of grant program, administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), now includes small hotels, bed and breakfast facilities and Virginia film companies as well as companies that provide goods or services to eligible businesses. 

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Study: 68 Percent of Workers Earned More on Unemployment with $600 Weekly Enhancement

Some unemployed workers received nearly twice as much money through unemployment insurance (UI) payments authorized through the CARES Act than they earned when they were employed, a new study from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) found.

In response to states shutting down economies over coronavirus fears, Congress passed several relief bills, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These two bills expanded the UI benefit period, suspended work search requirements, included newly eligible individuals, and added a $600-per-week unemployment benefit enhancement through July 31.

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Treasury Department: States, Local Governments Spend Only 25 Percent of CARES Act Subsidies

As deliberations continue in Congress over how to allocate another $1 trillion worth of stimulus money, governors and mayors say they need more than the $139 billion already allocated to their states in March to cover revenue shortfalls.

A total of $150 billion was allocated to help state, local and tribal governments with specific COVID-19 response programs.

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Federal Unemployment Benefits Expiring as Democratic Leaders Demand Non-COVID-19 Related Policies

The additional $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits expire Friday after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected a White House offer to temporarily extend them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that, “Senate Republicans tried several ways to extend the expiring unemployment assistance. Democrats blocked them all and refused another dime for COVID-19 relief unless they get to pass a bill that includes an unrelated tax cut for rich people in blue states.”

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Senate Republicans Propose New $1 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package

Senate Republicans’ latest COVID-19 stimulus package proposes another round of direct payments to Americans and more enhanced federal unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs during coronavirus restrictions.

The $1 trillion package, called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act was released Monday.

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Democrats Seek Coronavirus Aid Bill Provision to Limit Federal Agents from Patrolling Cities

Senate Democrats are planning to insert a provision in the coronavirus relief bill that would place restrictions on the Trump administration’s ability to send federal agents to help quell protests in cities across the country.

The provision would require federal agents to identify themselves, use marked vehicles and stay on federal property rather than patrol city streets, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday, according to NBC News. Local officials including mayors and governors would need to approve the use of federal agents patrolling streets.

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Study: Unemployment Pays Better Than Work for 68 Percent of U.S. Workers

The federal unemployment insurance emergency payments of an additional $600 per week to those laid off because of COVID-19 restrictions discourages work and slows down economic recovery, several reports indicate. Several congressmen have introduced proposals to address the issue.

A report published by the Foundation for Government Ability (FGA) found that by nearly tripling average unemployment benefits through the CARES Act, “Congress has created a situation where unemployment now pays better than work” for roughly 68 percent of U.S. workers.

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Republican Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Cut Waste from Coronavirus Bill

U.S. Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC-13) and Ken Buck (R-CO-04) introduced the Getting Americans Back to Work Act to amend a portion of the CARES Act, which resulted in some unemployed filers receiving higher wages through unemployment compensation than through their previous jobs.

The bill caps the amount an individual can receive from unemployment insurance at 100 percent of their previous wages.

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