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Information & resources on coronavirus

Here in Congress, we have been working very hard to address COVID-19. In the face of this crisis, our responsibilities range from providing supplies to a strained health care system to enhancing programs for struggling workers to reversing an economic downturn. With many Americans practicing social distancing – and rightfully so – the economy is facing an unprecedented challenge as a result of this public health crisis. I am working tirelessly to provide much-needed support to those most impacted by this pandemic.

As of March 2021, we have passed six major pieces of legislation to help address this outbreak. With funding totaling nearly $6 trillion to support families, workers, and businesses feeling the economic toll, first responders and public health experts working on the front lines, and delivery of a vaccine, we have made great strides to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, but our work is not finished. Please read about our progress below and stay tuned to this page for more legislative updates!

American Rescue Plan

Signed into law on March 11, 2021

  • Reopening Schools: $170 billion to help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education reopen safely for in-person learning and address students’ needs; $160 billion for national vaccination campaign;
  • Vaccines & Health Care: Vaccines: $50 billion for testing, contact tracing; $20 billion for improving vaccine distribution; $10 billion for the Defense Production Act; $8 billion for public health workforce development. Health Equity: $25.2 billion investment in underserved communities and communities of color Behavioral Health: $4 billion to increase access to mental health and substance use services;
  • Small Businesses: $7.25 billion to give more nonprofits access to the Paycheck Protection Program; $15 billion for disaster grants to small businesses; $25 billion for restaurant grants; $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative;
  • Agriculture: $9 billion in support for agriculture and food sectors;
  • State & Local Governments: $195.3 billion for states and DC; $130.2 billion for local governments; $4.5 billion for territories; $20 billion for tribal governments;
  • Family tax credits: the Child Tax Credit for 2021 is expanded from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child—and $3,600 per child under 6. The Child Care Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers are also expanded;
  • Financial Help for Families: Provide low- and moderate-income households with a $1,400 direct payment per adult and an additional $1,400 per dependent, including for both children and non-child dependents;
  • Unemployment aid: Extended enhanced unemployment benefits through the first week of September, and extended federal supplemental unemployment benefit of $300 per week;
  • Housing: $40 billion in rental, homeowner, and homelessness assistance;
  • Nutrition: Extensions of increased SNAP benefits through September and other vital nutrition assistance to help ensure families, children, and seniors don’t go hungry; and
  • Support for Veterans: $13.5 billion for the Veterans Health Admin; $400 million for assistance for unemployed veterans; $272 million for VA; $100 million to accelerate VA’s supply chain; $500 million to support State Veterans Homes; $10 million for VA’s OIG; $80 million for emergency employee leave fund.
  • Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

    Became Law on December 27, 2020

  • An expansion of the unemployment insurance program. The package includes a $300 per week federal supplement to weekly state benefits through March 14, 2021. It also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. Additionally, the bill increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through regular state unemployment plus the PEUC program, or through the PUA program, to 50 weeks.
  • Direct financial support to American working families. The package provides $600 in direct payments 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. The package also ensures households with individuals of mixed immigration status will receive payments.
  • $325 billion to small businesses. The package includes two small business proposals first introduced by Senator Coons: $284 billion for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans-to-grants –prioritized for businesses hit hard by the pandemic – ­and a $3.5 billion extension to the Small Business Debt Relief Program, which has already delivered $8 billion in debt relief, automatically, to more than 320,000 credit-constrained small businesses nationwide and nearly 900 in Delaware.
  • $12 billion in support for Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions, of which $3 billion is for grants through the CDFI Fund program and $9 billion is for Treasury Department capital investments.CDFIs are mission-driven financial lenders that deliver responsible, affordable lending to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities. Over 300 CDFIs have served as PPP lenders, helping to reach some of the hardest-hit minority-owned small businesses.
  • $1 billion to help cover Amtrak’s operating losses during the unprecedented drop in ridership levels.
  • $25 billion in rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and an eviction moratorium extension through January 31, 2021.
  • $10 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to families, and to help child care providers cover their increased operating costs during the pandemic.
  • $69 billion for vaccines, testing and tracing, community health and health care provider support. The bill provides roughly $20 billion to BARDA to procure vaccines and therapeutics, $9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution and more than $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile. The bill specifically directs a total of $2.8 billion to high-risk and underserved areas for distribution, including communities of color. The bill provides more than $22 billion for testing, tracing, and COVID mitigation programs. Lastly, the bill provides $4.5 billion in mental health funding, $9 billion in support for health care providers, and more than $1 billion for NIH to research COVID-19.
  • $82 billion in support to school systems and higher education institutions. This funding includes $1.7 billion for HBCUs and minority-serving institutions like Delaware State University.
  • $13 billion to assist people facing hunger, including increased SNAP benefits and additional funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs.
  • $13 billion to support farmers who have suffered losses during the pandemic. The bill includes a provision that Senator Coons fought for as a co-chair of the Senate Chicken Caucus to extend assistance to contract poultry growers and growers who have been forced to depopulate in Delaware and around the country.
  • $300 million for fishermen and seafood producers hurt by the pandemic, including a provision that Senator Coons championed to provide a minimum of 1% of total funding to each state.
  • $4 billion for global health programs and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to support equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, 2020

    Became Law on April 24, 2020

    This is the fourth major appropriation of funds by Congress to support COVID-19 relief. The nearly $500 billion package was focused on delivering aid to small businesses and nonprofits with the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The package includes:

    • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, with roughly $60 billion set aside for community lenders that focus on the smallest businesses and underserved communities;

    • $50 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, with an additional $10 billion for the grants program that provides a quick infusion of capital worth up to $10,000 each to small business applicants;

    • Nearly $75 billion to support hospital systems;

    • $25 billion to broaden COVID-19 testing nationwide.

    Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, 2020

    Became Law on March 27, 2020

    Congress worked to compromise on the CARES Act, a $2 trillion dollar package that fights the COVID-19 pandemic and provides economic relief across the country. The things that Democrats stood firm for – expanding unemployment insurance, helping states and counties, investing in hospitals, and transparency on a $500 billion fund for business relief – were ultimately included in the final package. The largest stimulus package in American history includes:

    • A dramatic expansion and reform of the unemployment insurance (UI) program. The extended UI program increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week and ensures that laid-off workers, on average, will receive their full pay for four months. It ensures that all workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy;
    • $150 billion for state, local, and tribal governments that are propping up local health systems on their own, with a small state floor that guarantees that Delaware receives at least $1.25 billion;
    • A Marshall Plan for hospitals and medical needs of $150 billion. This includes investments in personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increasing workforce and training, new construction to house patients, an increase for the Strategic National Stockpile, medical research into COVID-19, and Medicare payment increases to all hospitals treating COVID-19 patients to ensure they receive the funding they need during this pandemic;
    • $377 billion in capital to small businesses that desperately need support to make payroll and cover expenses. This bill provides cash-flow sustenance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers. If employers maintain or rehire their workers, the loans will be forgiven to a large extent, which will help workers to remain employed and help small businesses quickly snap back after this crisis. This funding also includes Senator Coons’ $17 billion Small Business Debt Relief Act and his MEP Crisis Response Act. Senator Coons also secured $10 billion in federal grants to serve the most severely impacted businesses and nonprofits;
    • $500 billion in industry support, with enhanced transparency and accountability. Every loan document will be public;
    • Direct financial support to American working families. This bill provides $1,200 in direct payments that would apply equally to workers with incomes up to $75,000 per year ($150,000 for married couples) before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000 ($198,000 for couples). Families will receive an additional $500 per child;
    • $400 million for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the safety of voting in person by providing additional voting facilities and more poll workers;
    • $100 million for Assistance to Firefighters Grants and a $45 billion infusion into FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to ensure that firefighters and first responders can purchase the equipment and tools they will need to protect themselves and our communities throughout this crisis;
    • $1.018 billion to help cover Amtrak’s operating losses during the unprecedented drop in ridership levels. Of that, $492 million is for the Northeast Corridor;
    • $80 million to support a new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. This committee will ensure that all spending in this legislation is transparent to the public and to conduct effective oversight of the funds provided to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse;
    • $3.5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus;
    • $30.75 billion in emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions, which will include millions in grants to the University of Delaware and Delaware State University; and
    • Protections for AmeriCorps members whose terms of service are interrupted so that they can continue to receive their Segal Education Awards. 

    Families First Coronavirus Response Act, 2020

    Became Law on March 18, 2020

    This second package of COVID-19 relief focused on supporting families, workers, health care providers, and small business owners. I have very rarely seen a bill of this size, scope, and magnitude be taken up and passed in such a short time frame. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allocates over $104 billion in spending and includes:

    • Free coronavirus testing for anyone who needs a test. Private health insurers and government programs are mandated to cover the cost of not only testing, but also emergency room visits and doctor fees related to COVID-19. This also includes the uninsured;
    • 2 weeks of paid sick leave for many workers. See here for more details;
    • An expansion of family and medical leave (FMLA) to 12 weeks of leave related to a public health emergency, ensuring job protection during that time;
    • Tax Credits for nonprofits and for-profit companies with 500 or fewer employees, including self-employed individuals, to compensate for required paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave;
    • $1 billion to state unemployment insurance programs. $500 million would be made available to states that have a 10% increase in Unemployment Compensation claims. This is an important first step to help affected workers;
    • $1 billion to expand and strengthen food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, senior nutrition, food banks, and the emergency food assistance program. Additionally, for students whose school has been closed for at least 5 consecutive days, the law allows the Department of Agriculture to approve state plans to provide emergency SNAP assistance to households with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if their school was not closed due to COVID-19
    • A requirement that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develop an exposure control plan for health care workers and other workers who are in contact with those who have been exposed or are responsible for cleaning at-risk places;
    • Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs, which will provide $100 million to Delaware.

    Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

    Became Law on March 6, 2020

    This was the first federal funding package to address the outbreak of COVID-19 following the first confirmed cases within the United States. It provides $8.3 billion to combat the outbreak, ensure preparedness in the health care system, and aid small businesses. The emergency funding bill includes:

    • More than $3 billion dedicated to the research and development of vaccines, as well as therapeutics and diagnostics;
    • $2.2 billion in public health funding to aid in prevention and response;
    • Nearly $1 billion for medical supplies, health-care preparedness, Community Health Centers and medical surge capacity; 
    • $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus overseas; and
    • Additional funding for states to aid in preparedness, prevention, and response efforts. Delaware specifically would receive over $4.5 million in additional funding for CDC assistance.