On Tuesday, April 21, a fourth COVID-19 relief package was agreed to and began to move through Congress for final approval on Thursday. Some are referring to it as coronavirus bill 3.1 or 3.5 because it refills some of the funding initiatives created in the first three bills.
The bill does not add additional state or local budget relief funding as many in Congress have sought, but it seems almost certain another bill (bill number 5) will have to be passed. The total for this bill is $482 billion, increasing funding for the Paycheck Protection Program from $349 billion to $670 billion. The small business and non-profit loan program had run out of funds. The bill provides $310 billion more with an added $10 billion for various administrative and support expenses to continue to carry out the program. The new law designates that $60 billion of these funds be targeted to smaller state and federal credit unions and smaller community financial institutions.
The bill provides an additional $50 billion for the Disaster Loan Program, and $10 billion for the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Grants program. Total business relief is approximately $380 billion. The remaining $100 billion is for health care-related measures: $75 billion for reimbursement to hospitals and health care providers to replenish a fund that was included in the CARES Act (coronavirus bill number three). The remaining $25 billion is to promote and strengthen testing with the biggest parts targeted to:
• $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and tribes to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze tests
• $2 billion provided through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program
• $4.25 billion provided to areas based on relative number coronavirus cases
• $750 million targeted to tribes and tribal organization provided through the Indian Health Service
• $1 billion provided to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $1.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $1 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, $825 million for Community Health Centers and rural health clinics; and up to $1 billion to cover costs of testing for the uninsured.