Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Washington D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) today applauded the passage of H.R. 133, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.
“While additional relief should have come months ago, I’m glad Congress reached agreement on a COVID relief package to extend several programs such as rental assistance, student loan deferment, and small business funding while providing support for individuals and families through direct payments and unemployment assistance,” said Perlmutter. “This package will also support our healthcare system to ensure efficient distribution of the vaccine and continued expansion of testing as well as funding for our education system to support kids getting back to in-person learning.
“As the pandemic continues to surge across much of the country, communities everywhere need additional relief as soon as possible. This package is a down payment on that relief. I’m hopeful under a new Biden administration we’ll take further steps in providing relief for state and local governments which were left out due to irrational claims by Congressional Republicans,” continued Perlmutter. “As the vaccine is rolled out to more Americans in the coming months, I’m hopeful we can turn to more stimulative measures to rebuild our economy and continue our recovery.”
This COVID relief package is the sixth major package passed by Congress this year to address the needs of families, businesses, communities and our healthcare system as we combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most importantly, the package includes:
• Direct relief payments for individuals and families
o A second round of Economic Impact Payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year as well as $600 for each dependent child. This means a family of four could receive $2,400 in direct payments.
• Additional unemployment assistance to help prevent 14 million Americans from losing jobless benefits at the end of the year
o Additional $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021 and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and expanded coverage for self-employed, gig workers and other non-traditional workers.
o This includes a provision allowing the continuation of the Extended Benefits unemployment program for at least 16,000 Coloradans after their benefits were turned off last month.
• $325 billion in small business assistance through second draw PPP loans for the hardest hit small businesses, new EIDL Grants, continued SBA lending and loan relief, and dedicated funding for entertainment and cultural venues
• $69 billion for vaccine procurement and distribution, funding for states for testing, tracing and COVID mitigation programs as well as $4.5 billion in mental health funding
• $82 billion in funding for states, K-12 schools and higher education institutions
• $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of the CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021
• $13 billion to increase SNAP benefits
• Extends deadline for state and local governments to use CARES Act funding until December 31, 2021
In addition, the package also includes all 12 FY 2021 appropriations bills and will provide certainty for federal agencies and the millions of Americans and businesses who rely on them for the rest of the fiscal year.
“We began the 116th Congress in a partial government shutdown after Congressional Republicans let funding lapse over the holidays, and I am glad we came together to negotiate strong government funding bills which invest in our country’s future,” said Perlmutter. “These appropriations bills include important priorities for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District including strong support for the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, continued growth for NASA and our nation’s aerospace programs, and investments in scientific research.”
The end of year package also included several provisions which have been negotiated over the course of several years and will have a positive impact for Coloradans:
• The Energy Act of 2020: Perlmutter helped secure the inclusion of two provisions to ensure the Department of Energy expands research and development of emerging renewable technologies like thin-film and perovskite for solar energy and small and medium wind turbines for micro-grid use. These provisions will help secure a cleaner energy future through research at the National Renewable Energy Lab and businesses on the cutting edge in Colorado and across the country. The bill directs the Department of Energy to conduct comprehensive clean energy research, development, demonstration, and commercialization activities key to achieving meaningful carbon pollution reduction targets as quickly as possible and supporting a clean energy economy.
• Surprise medical billing: Perlmutter has been pushing for years for more transparency in healthcare costs and coverage. The No Surprises Act will end the practice of balance billing patients for unexpected costs and introduce additional transparency so patients know the costs of their healthcare.
• The Water Resources Development Act is also included which authorizes projects on the South Platte River which the City of Denver and Adams County have been studying for several years.
• A provision to simplify the FAFSA process for college financial assistance is also included which will make it easier for low-income students to apply for Pell Grants and other financial assistance.