WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic, according to the Associated Press.
The CARES Act contains $9.5 billion in assistance for agriculture producers who have been impacted by COVID-19 along with a $14 billion replenishment to the Commodity Credit Corporation, according to USDA. In addition, the legislation includes $100 million in ReConnect grants to expand access to broadband in rural America for educational purposes, business, and access to critical telehealth services.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued this statement:
“The passage of the Coronavirus response legislation will provide much needed relief to Americans across this country, especially workers and small-business owners who have been impacted by COVID-19. President Trump has made the safety and security of the American people a top priority during this national emergency, and this bill will help make Americans more financially secure. At USDA we will deliver relief assistance to farmers and ranchers as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Perdue. “Americans across the nation are stepping up to the challenges facing them during these uncertain times. At USDA we are doing our part to ensure those who need help will get it, whether it’s through nutrition assistance, ensuring the food supply chain is safe and secure, or through new flexibilities with our Rural Development loan programs.”
Provisions for Agriculture
The Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers had provided an initial analysis of key provisions of CARES Act on Thursday. Here's a summary:
Congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement early this morning on a nearly $2 trillion emergency relief package on Wednesday, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. AEM staff has provided an initial overview of key appropriations provisions that impact equipment manufacturers. An in-depth analysis of the CARES ACT will be provided later today.
Department of Agriculture
- $14 billion in borrowing authority for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). AEM joined a letter earlier this week to Congressional leadership urging an expansion and replenishment of USDA's borrowing authority under the CCC. This will enable another round of Market Facilitation Payments to help with the cash flow of farmers and ranchers as they deal with challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they have access to the equipment and related inputs they need.
- $20.5 million to allow for the Rural Business Cooperative Service to make $1 billion in lending authority available for loan guarantee program
- $100 million in grants for the ReConnect Program to provide rural broadband (includes cost of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service in eligible rural areas)
- $25 million for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband programs
- $9.5 billion to assist specialty crop producers; producers who support local foods systems such as farmers markets, schools, and restaurants; and livestock producers, including dairy
- $25.06 billion for food and nutrition programs like CNP, SNAP, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program
Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
- $1.5 billion for economic development grants to states
- $50 million for Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies
- $50 million to the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that operation of Corps projects across the country continue such as U.S. locks and dams, canals, and a wide range of public works programs vital to the transportation of goods such as agricultural commodities.
Financial Services and General Government
- $562 million for the Disaster Loans Program - this is in addition to $350 billion authorized for 100 % guaranteed, partially forgivable SBA loans, $10 billion in direct grants for businesses that do not qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and $17 billion for six months of principle and loan payments for all SBA backed business loans contained elsewhere in the legislation.
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
- $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans.
- $1 billion for Community Services Block Grant to help communities address the consequences of increasing unemployment and economic disruption.
Departments of Transportation and Housing
- $10 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to maintain operations at U.S. airports and shore up other available funding for capital projects and programs, including facility construction projects, that are already underway. AEM joined a letter last week to Congressional leadership urging this additional authorization for airports to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 has had on the aviation industry.
- $56 million for Essential Air Service (EAS)
- $25 billion for Transit Infrastructure Grants
- $1.018 billion for Amtrak
- $6 million for DOT administrative expenses $5 million for DOT Inspector General
Go here for a round-up of Rural Lifestyle Dealer's COVID-19 coverage.