Congress Renews Its Commitment to the American People, Passes COVID Relief, Omnibus Legislation

December 21, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate Amendment to H.R. 133- the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2021, providing COVID-19 relief to American individuals, families, and businesses as well as appropriations for Fiscal Year 2021:

“Nine months ago, Congress passed the largest rescue package in American history. The bipartisan CARES Act provided more than $2 trillion in relief for American workers and families, resources for healthcare providers and professionals, and emergency lending to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives renewed its commitment to the American people and passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, providing critical assistance again to individuals, families, and businesses as well as important funds to aid in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

“Oklahomans can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to the unprecedented response of scientists and doctors across the globe, Oklahoma is on the verge of receiving another safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine- produced by Moderna and just recently approved for use by the FDA. Just as science has responded so has the American economy, but unfortunately, many in our communities are still under financial strain.

“The package passed today provides Paycheck Protection Program loans helping the hardest-hit businesses, delivers additional federal unemployment aid, and gives individuals and families more direct stimulus- all a bridge through the next few months until mass immunization occurs. It also provides funding for K-12 schools to reopen safely and responsibly as well as an investment of $69 billion for the procurement and distribution of coronavirus vaccines. 

“In addition to the relief for millions of Americans, the Consolidated Appropriations Act also properly and fully funds government operations until September 30, 2021. Ensuring the government is responsibly funded assures the American people that vital programs are fully operational for the next fiscal year. 

“As my colleagues and I depart Washington for Christmas, I’m reminded of the responsibility we share to the people we represent: In the midst of a pandemic, Congress worked together to find a consensus to fund the government and deliver crucial COVID relief. I hope Oklahomans across the Third District have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in the coming days, and I stand ready to help those who need assistance as we continue to lift our communities up from the throes of the pandemic.”

Background: 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act supports health care workers and hospitals; provides essential funding for vaccine procurement and distribution; allocates funding for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and mitigation programs; and delivers resources for individuals and families affected by the mental health effects of COVID-19. 

  • - $20 billion for the production of vaccines and therapeutics
  • - $8.75 billion for the distribution of vaccines
  • - $3 billion for the National Strategic Stockpile
  • - $3 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Provider Relief Fund
  • - Ends surprise medical billing

The Consolidated Appropriations Act provides direct economic relief to individuals, families, and small businesses; expands federal unemployment benefits for self-employed individuals, gig workers, and other workers; establishes a federal rental assistance program; and offers critical relief and policy changes to help small businesses recover from the pandemic.

  • - $600 stimulus check per individual/child ($1,200 per married couple)
    • -- Capped at $75,000 gross adjusted income per individual ($150,000 for married couples)
    • -- IRS will use 2019 tax information
  • - $284.5 billion to reopen and strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program for first time and second time borrowers
    • -- Develops a process for a small business to receive a second Paycheck Protection Program loan if the small business has less than 300 employees and can demonstrate a revenue deduction of 25%
    • -- Maximum loan amount for a second Paycheck Protection Program loan will be reduced to $2 million
    • -- Creates a simplified Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application for loans under $150,000 whereby the borrow signs and submits a one-page certification that requires the borrower to list the loan amount, the number of employees retained, and the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs
    • -- Expands list of eligible expenses to include covered operations (software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs); property damage costs due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that are not covered by insurance; covered supplier costs; and covered worker protection expenditures (PPE) 
    • -- Repeals the CARES Act provision that requires PPP borrowers to deduct their EIDL Advance from their PPP loan forgiveness amount
    • -- Codifies rules for faith-based organizations and churches to ensure eligibility remains intact 
    • -- Creates a farmer and rancher calculation 
  • - Provides additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021
    • -- Extends unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, gig workers, and those who have exhausted their state benefits
  • - Provides $20 billion to restart and extend the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Grant for small businesses in low-income communities
    • -- Creates a process for existing EIDL Advance grantees that received less than $10,000 dollars to reapply for the difference between what they received and the maximum EIDL Advance Grant of $10,000 dollars
  • - Creates a $15 billion dollar grant program for eligible venues, theaters, museums, and zoos
  • - $25 billion in rental assistance and extends the CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021
  • - $16 billion in funding for the Payroll Support Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act provides additional direct payments to America’s farmers and ranchers; invests funds to increase broadband access; delivers supplementary funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs; increases food assistance benefits for children and families affected by the pandemic; and includes funds to support the food supply chain.

  • - $13 billion in support to farmers, ranchers, and America’s agriculture sector
    • -- The Secretary of Agriculture is directed to provide assistance to specifically support specialty crop, non-specialty crop, livestock, dairy and poultry producers largely by enhancing assistance received under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
    • -- Directs $1.5 billion for the purchase of food and agricultural products for distribution via nonprofit organizations or for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for food processors.
  • Establishes a grant program for small meat and poultry processors to upgrade operations in order move to federal inspection or a state inspection program that allows for the sale of products across state lines
  • Indemnifies losses for producers who had to depopulate their animals due to insufficient processing capacity at a rate of 80% of the fair market value of the animal plus the cost to depopulate, after accounting for other support producers received under EQIP or from the states
  • Provides an inventory top-up payment to cattle producers to address a portion of the gap in support provided by both CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 to producers who sold cattle before April 15 and those who sold after
  • Supports up to 80% of lost revenue for contract growers who were affected by cancelled or delayed contracts.
  • - $13 billion to bolster food stamp benefits by 15%
  • - $1.9 billion for the rip-and-replace program for communications providers with 10,000,000 subscribers or less to replace equipment in their communications networks that poses a national security threat
  • - $300 million for broadband deployment program to support broadband infrastructure deployment to unserved areas, prioritizing unserved areas and rural areas
  • - $250 million to the FCC to carry out the temporary telehealth pilot program authorized under the CARES Act
  • - Establishes a $1 billion program at NTIA to support broadband infrastructure deployment, telehealth, and broadband adoption activities for federally recognized tribal nations. 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act support military personnel and their families. 

  • Provides a 3% pay raise for all military personnel, effective January 1, 2021

The Consolidated Appropriations Act ensures childcare facilities, K-12 schools, universities have the resources they need to reopen safely and responsibly; simplifies higher education financial aid forms for students; and forgives federal loans to historically Black colleges and universities. 

  • - $82 billion for Education Stabilization Fund
    • -- 5% allocated to the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund for Governors to make emergency grants to education entities
    • -- $2.75 billion of which will be reserved for private schools to help cover costs due to the pandemic
    • -- 67% allocated to the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Fund (K-12)
    • -- 28% allocated to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
    • -- Clarifies that personal protective equipment and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 are treated as eligible expenses for purposes of the educator expense deduction.
  • Forgives nearly $1.3 billion in federal loans to historically Black colleges and universities. 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act prevents an unnecessary government shutdown, avoiding a wasteful continuing resolution that simply straight-lines funding until the end of the year; ensures the federal government has the proper funding and tools to provide for the nation’s common defense; and protects long-standing Second Amendment and pro-life provisions. 

  • For an overview of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food & Drug Administration; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Defense; Energy and Water; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior and Environment; Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education; Legislative Branch; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and Housing & Urban Development appropriations provisions, click here

 

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