COVID-19 Pandemic $2 Trillion Federal Stimulus Package Signed Into Law

Mar 30, 2020

by ASME.org

The President has signed into law the largest economic relief package (H.R. 748) in United States history in response to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. The $2 trillion virus relief package is a mix of spending and tax breaks that will impact many government programs important to the ASME community. $6 million will go to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support activities to improve coronavirus testing capabilities and the development of coronavirus diagnostics. The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science will receive $99.5 million to support the national laboratories, which are currently being used to carry out research and development efforts related to coronavirus (the efforts of the DOE national laboratories are further outlined in this Capitol Update article). ASME’s Federal manufacturing priorities are also impacted, with $10 million being put towards the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIMBL) Manufacturing USA Institute to improve national readiness and domestic biopharmaceutical manufacturing capability. While the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing USA Institute NIMBL will receive direct support, there is the potential for many other Department of Defense (DOD)-led Institutes to receive support through the $2.45 billion being allowed to the Defense Industrial Base, though specific funding has not yet been announced. Further, the bill includes provisions from the MEP Crisis Response Act and $50 million that will ensure the 51 Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers across the united states will be able to stay open during the CVOID-19 Pandemic to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers recover from the economic impacts of coronavirus, while also waiving the statutory cost-match requirements for all FY2020 funding.

In addition to the impacts on specific government agencies and programs, the bill offers major stimulus provisions to impact the overall U.S. economy. The package includes about $500 billion in loans and assistance for larger companies, as well as states and cities. For small businesses, $350 billion in loans will be administrated through both the Small Business Administration (SBA) and banks, all guaranteed by the Federal government. Further, the package provides direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans at $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child. Hospitals and veterans’ health care is set to receive $117 billion, with an additional $16 billion for much needed personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical supplies for Federal and state response efforts. The bill also includes $11 billion for vaccines, diagnostic tests, and other medical needs, and $250 million to improve the capacity of health-care facilities to respond to medical events.

ASME will continue to assess how specific programs are impacted though this stimulus bill and by any additional measures Congress enacts as they continue to work to contain damages from the crisis.

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