Sen. Chuck Grassley today calculated the federal government so far has put tens of billions of dollars in the pipeline to help Iowans respond to the public health crisis and alleviate economic fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, government effectively shut down life as we know it,” Grassley said. “The coronavirus pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on lives and livelihoods, affecting communities in every county across the country. Our nation is facing the highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression. We can’t stay shut down forever. The federal government must help get the economy back on track so Americans can get back to work.”
Congress and the Trump administration swiftly approved $3 trillion to boost therapeutics and vaccine development and deliver emergency relief to the states to bolster recovery efforts, including funding for hospitals, nursing homes, schools, law enforcement and social service agencies to support health care, nutrition, energy, housing, education, broadband and transportation infrastructure, as well as financial assistance for small businesses, unemployed workers and farmers who have lost wages and income due to the pandemic.
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley helped steer the largest economic rescue package in U.S. history through Congress. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is making a difference in Iowa.
More than 150 million Americans will receive direct cash assistance through Economic Impact Payments. Eligible households, including seniors, qualify for a one-time $1,200 payment and $500 per child age 16 and younger. As of May 8, the IRS had delivered 1,230,814 payments to Iowans, totaling $2.2 billion. These payments put cash in people’s pockets to help pay bills and boost consumer spending in the recovery.
So far, nearly 50,000 Iowa businesses have received more than $5.1 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the forgivable loan program is delivering a financial lifeline to help keep small businesses afloat and their workforce on payroll. What’s more, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has distributed $116.2 million to Iowans.
The CARES Act includes an additional $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) for jobless workers through July 31, 2020. Since April 4, 2020, FPUC paid $547 million to Iowans to date. The CARES Act also created a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to help self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers who have lost wages, through Dec. 31, 2020. As of May 2, unemployed Iowans have received $21 million from PUA. According to the Iowa Workforce Development, the number of continuing weekly unemployment claims in Iowa reached 191,257 the week ending May 9, 2020.
A lifelong family farmer, Grassley is leading efforts to ensure American agriculture receives pandemic-related relief to survive catastrophic disruptions in the food supply chain. The CARES Act allocated $24.5 billion for the USDA and Commodity Credit Corporation to help offset low prices for grain, dairy and livestock producers. The USDA expects $16 billion of direct payments will start reaching farmers in early June through the new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
State and local governments
Iowa has received $1.25 billion from the CARES Act to help pay for pandemic-related expenses. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has reimbursed Iowa $143 million for emergency protective measures, medical supplies and equipment, and other expenses including costs associated with deploying the Iowa National Guard. Iowa communities have received $32 million through the Community Development Block Grant program and nearly $3 million for state and local law enforcement assistance. The state has received $4.8 million for election security grants.
Iowa’s share of transportation dollars from the CARES Act include $64.3 million for urban transit; $42.8 million for rural transit; and $70.4 million for Iowa airports.
Iowa has received an additional $15.3 million for housing and homeless assistance; $31.8 million in Child Care Development Block Grants; $10.8 million for Community Services Block Grants, and $4.2 million in additional LIHEAP funding, the energy assistance program for low-income Americans.
Iowa’s social service agencies have received an additional $1.1 million for child welfare and family services programs for domestic violence and runaway youth; and an additional $8.8 million for Older Americans Act programs that fund nutrition programs and community-based services.
Iowa will receive a $1 billion boost from the Department of Health and Human Services in provider relief funds to address the coronavirus and make up for lost revenue, 14 Iowa health centers were awarded $17 million to expand COVID-19 testing and treat patients. What’s more, an increased federal Medicaid match will add millions of dollars for the program that provides care for the most vulnerable throughout the public health emergency.
Iowa’s higher education institutions will or have received $119.7 million, half of which is for direct student aid to be distributed by the schools. Iowa’s K-12 schools were provided $71.6 million from the CARES Act to help with pandemic-related costs, such as online learning support, technology, mental health services and support for students with disabilities. The Iowa governor will have flexibility to spend an additional $26.2 million for schools most in need.
The CARES Act also boosted federal programs that Iowa businesses, institutions, organizations and local governments may qualify and/or apply to receive additional pandemic relief, including:
$454 billion U.S. Treasury exchange stabilization fund for loan guarantees;
$1.5 billion for disaster economic recovery through the Economic Development Administration
$345 million U.S. Department of Labor Dislocated Worker National Reserve;
$15 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the USDA announced it will increase recipient benefits by 40 percent/monthly; $450 million Emergency Food Assistance Program for food banks; and $8.8 billion for childhood nutrition programs; (This comes in addition to nutrition funding included in the Families First Act that added $500 million for Women, Infant, Children (WIC) and $400 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program); $3 billion in USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase and distribute fresh produce, dairy and meat to address food insecurity
$125 million through the Health Resources & Services Administration for maternal health care and health start program;
$200 million in FCC grants to support telehealth services.
“As this money makes its way to Iowans, I’ll continue aggressive oversight to ensure tax dollars are spent effectively,” Grassley said. “America can’t borrow our way to prosperity. From one generation to the next, our greatest achievements come from the brains and brawn of the American people. We’ll get through this pandemic and come out even stronger than ever before.”