What the Bipartisan Senate Coronavirus Relief Legislation Means for Washington State

Senator Patty Murray
6 min readMar 27, 2020

In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Senator Murray secured some important wins for Washington state and communities across the country working to combat the coronavirus. Below are the specific provisions Senator Murray successfully fought to include the Senate package.

🔘 Hospitals: $100 billion nationwide in surge funding for hospitals and health infrastructure.

🔘 Public Health Agencies: $12.76 million for Washington state and $4.3 billion nationally to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including for the purchase of personal protective equipment; laboratory testing to detect positive cases; infection control and mitigation at the local level to prevent the spread of the virus; and other public health preparedness and response activities.

🔘 Personal Protective Equipment: $16 billion for the National Strategic Stockpile to purchase supplies, including personal protective equipment.

🔘 Medical Supplies: $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies, and billions of dollars more for federal, state, and local health agencies to purchase such equipment.

🔘 Community Health Centers: · $1.32 billion in supplemental awards for community health centers.

🔘 Mental Health: · $425 million nationally for mental health services, outreach, suicide prevention, grants for certification of personnel, and support in communities.

🔘 Nursing Homes: $200 million for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to assist nursing homes with infection control and support CMS and states as they work to save lives and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

🔘 Military Hospitals: $1.5 billion for expansion of military hospitals to alleviate the anticipated strain on both the military and civilian healthcare systems.

🔘 Child Care: $58.2 million for Washington state and $3.5 billion nationally for the Child Care Development Block Grant, which supports child care and early education programs.

🔘 Unemployment Insurance: $600 increase to the weekly unemployment insurance benefit and expansion of eligibility for benefits to those impacted by COVID-19.

🔘 Direct Payments: $1,200 directly to individuals and $500 for each child. This direct payment begins to phase out at incomes of $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per married couple. Direct payments fully phase out for those individuals with incomes above $99,000.

🔘 Retirement Income: Increases in people’s flexibility to access and manage their retirement savings.

🔘 Small Business Loans: $350 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and loan forgiveness to help small businesses and eligible non-profits maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.

🔘 Small Business Grants: $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.

🔘 Small Business Debt Relief: $17 billion nationally to relieve small business loan payments on existing SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for the next six months.

🔘 Small Business Employee Retention: A new refundable tax credit for small businesses who keep their employees on payroll.

🔘 Transportation: $696 million for Washington state and $25 billion nationally in aid to our nation’s transit systems to help protect public health and safety while ensuring access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services.

🔘 Airports: $10 billion nationally in grants to help our nation’s airports as the aviation sector grapples with the most steep and potentially sustained decline in air travel in history.

🔘 Corporate Accountability: Protections against big corporations abusing federal support by preventing compensation increases and bonuses for executives and stock buy backs.

🔘 Tribal Government Assistance: $8 billion nationally set-aside for tribal government assistance with COVID-19 response.

🔘 Indian Health Services: $1.03 billion nationally to the Indian Health Service to support tribal health care system response efforts, with direct grants to Indian Health Boards.

🔘 Food Assistance: $100 million more nationally for the USDA Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations.

🔘 Tribal Administrative Support: $453 million nationally to assist tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

🔘 Education: $69 million nationally to help tribal schools, colleges and universities through for the Bureau of Indian Education.

🔘 Tribal Housing: Approximately $12.3 million for Washington state and $300 million nationally to the Housing and Urban Development Indian Housing Block Grant program.

🔘 Emergency Funding: $45 billion nationally for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19. Additionally, the legislation provides $400 million nationally for FEMA grants.

🔘 Education Funding: Approximately $495 million for Washington state from the $30.75 billion nationally to create a fund to help states stabilize public K-12 and higher education and address needs related to coronavirus. Amounts available from this fund will go to Washington state school districts to help address educational issues such as providing online learning and other services to students and to institutions of higher education for emergency financial aid grants to students and costs related to coronavirus. Additionally, the bill ensures students in higher education have flexibility with grants and loans, as requested by students and colleges in Washington state.

🔘 Housing Funding: $7 billion nationally for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs, including nearly $40 million for Washington state in Emergency Solutions Grants alone. This funding will help low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions and minimize any impacts caused by loss of employment, and child care, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19, and support additional assistance to prevent eviction and for people experiencing homelessness.

🔘 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): An estimated $35.5 million for Washington state and $5 billion nationally for counties and cities to rapidly respond to COVID-19 and the economic and housing impacts caused by it, including the expansion of community health facilities, child care centers, food banks, and senior services.

🔘 Tri-Cities: Directions to the Federal Government to ensure tens of thousands of workers at the Hanford Nuclear Site and PNNL who cannot telework continue to receive pay.

🔘 Veterans: $19.6 billion nationally for our nation’s veterans, including to help treat COVID-19, purchase test kits, and procure personal protective equipment for clinicians, with $590 million nationally in dedicated funding to treat vulnerable veterans, including homeless veterans and those in VA-run nursing homes.

🔘 Fisheries: $300 million to help fishermen around the country struggling due to disappearing economic markets caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Tribal, subsistence, commercial, and charter fishermen, as well as aquaculture farmers, are all eligible for the disaster assistance.

🔘 LIHEAP: An estimated $11 million for Washington state and $900 million nationally for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help lower income households heat and cool their homes.

🔘 Election Security: An estimated $8.3 million for Washington state and $400 million nationally in election assistance for the states to help prepare for the 2020 election cycle, including 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.

🔘 Agriculture: $9.5 billion to assist agriculture producers impacted by the coronavirus, including specialty crop producers; producers who support local food systems such as farmers markets, schools, and restaurants; and livestock producers, including dairy.