U.S. House Passes $484 Billion in Covid-19 Response Funding
SAN JUAN — The U.S. House of Representative passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act Thursday to provide additional relief funds during the public health crisis.
The measure will allocate more than $484 billion in federal funding to help address the unemployment that reportedly has reached Great Depression levels amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The relief package provides increased funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), emergency disaster loans and grants, hospitals, healthcare providers and Covid-19 testing.
The measure includes $310 billion for the PPP to replenish the emergency loan program and provide funding to impacted businesses. Additionally, it includes $75 billion for reimbursing hospitals and healthcare providers for Covid-19 care, treatment, and prevention. Furthermore, the bill includes $25 billion for COVID-19 testing, directing $11 billion to states, localities, territories, tribes, and tribal organizations for necessary expenses to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze tests. The $25 billion will also provide funding for personal protective equipment, laboratory capacity, personnel, contact tracing, and surveillance.
“We thank Congress for the swift passage of this legislation. H.R. 266 includes important provisions that will provide Puerto Rico and our Nation the necessary resources and tools to continue fighting this pandemic during this heightened time of concern for public health,” said the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Jennifer Storipan.
“While this legislation provides critical funding to address some of the challenges we are currently confronting as a result of this pandemic, there still remain additional unmet needs for our state and local governments. As Congress continues to work on forthcoming packages to provide relief, we will work diligently to ensure that Puerto Rico is included and receives the needed funding to continue battling COVID-19,” she added.