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COVID Relief Package

December 22, 2020
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Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf thanked congressional lawmakers for responding to the needs of the American people and passing a second federal COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package. The governor released the following statement:

“The COVID-19 relief package passed yesterday by Congress is long overdue. The emergency relief funds authorized under the CARES Act were crucial to helping our nation survive the spring surge of COVID-19, but those funds expired while desperate need remained. Americans continue to struggle due to the economic consequences of this global pandemic.

“Now, as our commonwealth and our nation face an unprecedented surge of COVID-19, this new aid package is a necessary step toward meeting the needs of our people and helping Pennsylvania families and businesses survive the upheaval caused by this dangerous virus. I thank all the members of Congress who worked to pass this bipartisan package.

“This aid package provides direct payments to individuals, protects unemployment benefits, funds a new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, supports education, establishes rental assistance, and secures funding for contact tracing, testing, and vaccine distribution. It will provide vital support for individuals, families, workers, and small businesses in Pennsylvania.

“It is a vital step in our efforts to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians, but it cannot be the last step. More funding is needed for restaurants and bars as well as the service industry more broadly. More funding is needed for direct payments to individuals and families. More funding is needed for state and local governments and the critical services they provide.

“We should celebrate the aid this bill has secured, but we need to continue advocating for the additional support that Pennsylvanians – and all Americans – need during these difficult times. Nine months have passed between the CARES Act and this second COVID-19 relief package. For our congressional leaders, I have one plea: Do not let your constituents suffer for another nine months without the additional aid they desperately need.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndsay Kensinger

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On Friday, December 4, the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats introduced a state-level $4 billion COVID-19 pandemic relief proposal.

The Democrats’ proposal — titled the “Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2021,” or “PA CARES 21” for short — aims to fund existing pandemic relief programs and establish new ones by taking out emergency debt and tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The proposal targets areas such as unemployment compensation, small business relief, education, and housing assistance.

If adopted, the Senate Democrats’ PA CARES 21 plan would fund the following by both allocating money toward existing programs and establishing new relief programs in previously unaddressed areas:

  • $1 billion in unemployment benefits;
  • $800 million in business assistance;
  • $594 million in local government assistance;
  • $411 million toward education (including higher education, Pre-K, and basic education);
  • $318 million toward Department of Human Services programs;
  • $180 million in transportation funding;
  • $135 million toward hazard pay;
  • $100 million in housing assistance;
  • $100 million toward hospitals;
  • $100 million in utility assistance;
  • $75 million toward child care;
  • $50 million toward food security efforts;
  • $25 million for personal protective equipment and vaccines; and
  • $15 million in mental health funding.

Senate Democrats hope to begin negotiating the details of the package as soon as possible, but it may experience heavy resistance from Senate Republicans, who have the majority in the Senate.