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Trump Signs $2T Stimulus Bill for COVID-19

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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On Friday (March 27), President Donald J. Trump signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill aimed to help American citizens experiencing lay-offs, companies suffering financially and the health care system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just hours prior to signing, the House passed the bill through a voice vote and two days earlier, the Senate passed the legislation in a 96-0 vote.

“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses. And that’s what this is all about,” Trump said during the Oval Office’s signing ceremony.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently more than 140,000 cases in the United States and over 2,000 deaths. The Washington Post also adds that roughly 3.3 million workers applied for unemployment last week as a result of the disease.

About the Package

While the opportunity for federal aid comes as a relief, in some cases, splitting up the grants will be left up to localities and other recipients. Some reports claim that with drastic revenue losses, some airports and transit systems could be more likely to use the relief to offset that revenue verses putting the money into ongoing or upcoming construction projects.

“I can’t think of any precedent where there were this many programs involved in a single piece of legislation that were trying to be stood up so quickly,” said Shai Akabas, Director of Economic Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

As listed in the Senate Appropriations Committee, highlights of the package include:

  • $117 Billion for Hospitals and Veterans Health Care;
  • $45 Billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund;
  • $16 Billion for the Strategic National Stockpile;
  • $4.3 Billion for the Centers for Disease Control; and
  • $11 Billion for Vaccines, Therapeutics, Diagnostics and Other Medical Needs

These numbers are then broken down into the following subcommittees:

  • $34.9 billion to Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies;
  • $3.1 billion to Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies;
  •  $10.5 billion to Defense;
  • $221.4 million to Energy and Water Development;
  • $1.82 billion to Financial Services and General Government;
  •  $45.9 billion to Homeland Security;
  • $2 billion to Interior, Environment and Related Agencies;
  • $172.1 billion to Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies;
  • $93 million to the Legislative Branch;
  • $19.6 billion to Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies;
  • $1.1 billion to State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs; and
  • $48.5 billion to Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies.

In breaking down the allotted funding, the Engineering News-Record has calculated that while more than 80% of the package will go to state, local governments and communities, infrastructure and construction could be eligible for roughly $43 billion of that total.

Another part of the legislation focusing on construction and associated professionals are the tax provisions. CEO of Associated General Contractors of America Stephen Sandherr notes that the stimulus bill gives construction contractors, employees and other industry professionals a fall back for the deteriorating business environment.

More specifically, AGC highlighted cash-flow-related provisions allowing companies to delay paying payroll taxes through Jan. 1, 2021, and permitting firms to "carry back" net operating losses for five years, to offset past earnings.

Additionally, some partnerships, S corporations and other entities may even be able to deduct all 2020 losses in the current tax year.

As for the $25 billion specifically allotted for the Federal Transit Administration and Transit Infrastructure Grants, these funds will reportedly be distributed used existing FTA formulas. Federal Airport Improvement Program grants will also be disbursed using existing formulas and has been given $10 billion. However, this money can be used for non-infrastructural purposes.

As for the $10.5 billion slated for the Department of Defense, much of the funds will be used towards the expansion of military health facilities and modular field hospitals. Additionally, Veterans Affairs intends to use funds to develop other sites for providing health care services and for projects to modify infrastructure and utility systems at existing VA facilities to reconfigure them for coronavirus patients.

Moving Forward

While the circumstances of COVID-19 impacts are changing daily, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has gone on to mention the draft of legislation to follow.

The developing statute would focus on the “mitigation” of the nation’s experienced economic blow from the medical pandemic and health care emergencies by creating jobs and boosting economic growth.

On the development, Sandherr reportedly agreed with the measure and that the nation will need to "facilitate long-term recovery." Additionally, Sandherr suggested including multiyear surface transportation and water resources infrastructure bills to include in the envisioned measure.

View all of PaintSquare Daily News' coverage on COVID-19, here.


Tagged categories: Business conditions; Business management; Business operations; Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

Comment from Gary Burke, (4/1/2020, 9:39 AM)

Glad to see our political leaders come together to get the American public and businesses back and running again and hopefully very soon!

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