Coronavirus (COVID-19) Stimulus Package Breakdown
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Building Performance Association has been actively engaged with and has been monitoring the activities of federal, state, and local government responses. As many of our members know, the nationwide response to COVID-19 has shut down virtually all energy efficiency programs as contractors and customers shelter in place and adhere to safety protocols and social distancing. Virtually all residential energy efficiency work has been suspended by utilities, states, services providers and small businesses.
In the meantime, federal, state, and local government agencies have been formulating programs and policies in response to COVID-19. The Building Performance Association has been very active in advocating for the energy efficiency industry before the U.S. Congress and the federal agencies. Several federal “stimulus bills” have been enacted or are in the process of being finalized and the Building Performance Association has been weighing in with proposals and funding ideas.
Similarly, the Building Performance Association has been actively engaged at the state level in several discussions on how best to keep the industry viable while energy efficiency programs and implementation have been put on hold.
The Building Performance Association is tracking impacts from COVID-19, including any new federal or state economic stimulus bills and we will be sharing summaries of these newly enacted provisions with you as they become available. Today’s update focuses on the most recent legislative activities at the federal level. We will provide updates on state COVID-19 response activities as events unfold and materials become available.
Stimulus Phase 1 - Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
In late February 2020 President Trump asked Congress to provide $2.5 billion to fight the spread of the virus. But after negotiations with Congress, the House and Senate agreed on an $8.3 billion package, H.R.6074 - Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. This was signed into law on March 6, 2020, and provided:
Extra funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the State Department, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
- It includes $4 billion to make more coronavirus tests available and $1 billion in loan subsidies for small businesses.
Stimulus Phase 2 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The package, negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was introduced as HR 6201, passed the House on March 14, 2020, passed the Senate on March 18, 2020, and was signed by President Trump the same day. HR 6201 goes into effect on April 3, 2020. While it is unclear exactly how much the bill will cost, as the Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored it, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it will cost roughly $100 billion. The measure provided:
- Free coronavirus testing including for the uninsured.
- Two weeks of paid sick and family leave.
- Increased federal funds for Medicaid and food security programs, like SNAP.
- Increased unemployment insurance benefits.
Stimulus Phase 3 - Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
On March 25, 2020, the Senate passed Congress' $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package – a rare piece of legislation that will have an immediate and lasting impact on ordinary citizens across the country. The 883-page bill, titled the "CARES Act," includes thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans, and huge loan packages designed to help keep small businesses and corporations afloat. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement the House plans to vote on the package via a voice vote on Friday, March 27, 2020.
At a cost of over $2 trillion, Phase 3 costs 10 times what Phases 1 and 2 cost — and the bi-partisan negotiations of the deal have been unsurprisingly tense, particularly because the negotiations are occurring on a ticking clock as businesses remain shut down, consumers are being laid off or furloughed from work and bills are coming due at the end of the month.