Costa Welcomes Long-awaited COVID Deal

Dec 21, 2020
Press Release

 

(FRESNO, CA) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after House passage of stimulus legislation to provide needed relief to the American people: 

  “After months of impasse, Congress can finally deliver for the American people,” said Costa. “As a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, I worked with members of the House and Senate on a bipartisan basis to forge a compromise that will provide overdue support to Americans still reeling from the pandemic. While it doesn’t respond to all our needs, this is an important step that will buy the American people time as we look forward to more comprehensive relief next year.”

The deal, which was largely based on the Problem Solvers Caucus framework that Rep. Costa helped craft, includes important funding to strengthen our healthcare response, increase nutrition assistance, extend federal unemployment benefits, and provide small business relief:

To provide financial relief to Americans: 

  • Provides $166 billion in in direct checks to Americans including $600 to individuals making up to $75,000 per year, $1200 to couples making up to $150,000 per year and an additional $600 per child. 
  • Extends the deadline for states and cities to use unspent money approved for them by the Cares Act, giving governments until year’s end before the money must be returned.

To ensure Americans’ health and safety:

  • Invests $69 billion for testing, contact tracing and vaccine development and distribution to
  • Extends Provider Relief Fund (PRF) funding for one year
  • Provides $250 million for the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program to support efforts of healthcare providers to address coronavirus 


To assist families and vulnerable communities:

  • Provides $13 billion in total funding for nutrition assistance, including:
    • Temporarily increases individual monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 15 percent for 6 months
    • Expands the Pandemic-EBT program to cover families with children in childcare
    • Provides $400 million in funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), including funds for storage and administration, to support food banks and food pantries
    • Provides increased funding for school and childcare meal programs and benefits for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Extends CARES Act unemployment assistance for 16 weeks with federal supplemental unemployment insurance benefits expanded by $300 per week 
  • Provides $25 billion for rental and housing assistance grants and extends eviction moratorium until Jan. 31, 2021
  • Provides $10 billion for a new Child Care Stabilization Fund Grant program for childcare providers
  • Provides $7 billion for broadband funding to bridge the digital divide and ensure affordable access to broadband during the COVID 19 pandemic
  • Provides $54 billion in education funding, including emergency relief for K-12 and higher education
  • Extends Student loan deferment to April 2021

For our small businesses:

  • Provides $325 billion in funding for the Small Business Administration, including:
    • Streamlines PPP loan forgiveness for loans under $150k
    • Provides eligibility for a second round of PPP loan eligibility, including 501 (c)(6) organizations, live venue operators, and restaurants
    • Provides $20 billion in additional funding for Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants

As the representative for one of the top producing agricultural districts in the country, Congressman Costa played a pivotal role in strengthening and stabilizing our food supply chains, including protecting our food workers:

“Our food industry workers are critical to ensuring that no American goes hungry,” said Costa. “I’m thankful that our leaders recognized how important food security is to our national security and agreed to adopt the protections I outlined for essential farm workers.”

Ensuring the integrity of our food supply chains and assisting farmers, farmworkers, and producers:

  • Provides $13 billion in total funding for agriculture, including:
    • Strengthens COVID-19 worker protections for our agricultural labor force on farms, in food processing and distribution facilities, and other food organizations
    • $100 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program
    • $400 million for a new Dairy Donation Program
    • $75 million for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program for small, disadvantaged, minority, and veteran farmers