RICHMOND, Virginia (WRIC) – Virginia is expected to receive nearly $ 3.8 billion in direct aid and over seven million citizens will be benefiting from the newly signed $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package Received more than $ 9.3 billion in stimulus payments.
Key details in the economic relief bill dubbed the American bailout, of course, made headlines, including the new round of economic reviews and the expansion of increased unemployment benefits.
However, several provisions of the package will provide funding for initiatives that lawmakers have been looking for for a while. American Mark Warner (D-Va.) Said investing in broadband infrastructure to expand and improve internet access for all Virginians was a pivotal proposition and an issue that was brought to light during the pandemic and set the final bill.
“The challenge with delivering broadband really was the fact that in many countries, especially if you are moving into more rural areas, the local incumbent has no incentive to provide this expanded coverage,” Warner told 8News on Thursday. “But at the same time, I don’t want a competitor to come in and provide this expanded coverage, as it may be worthwhile to expand that coverage at some point.”
Virginia will receive $ 222 million for broadband infrastructure and other projects under the stimulus package, according to Warner’s office.
“And if we had that approach to rural electrification in the 1930s, it would probably have taken 50 years to get power to every American home,” Warner continued. “We cannot have the same model in broadband.”
Warner noted that he was in contact with the Northam government to clarify how the state should allocate the funds, but stressed the need for flexible investment as not all locations will have the same needs to improve broadband access. He described access to affordable broadband Internet services as an “economic necessity”.
Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the stimulus package. GOP National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel called out the Democrats after the bill was passed, arguing that it was doing little to fight the pandemic and more about getting Democrats “fulfilling their progressive wish list”.
“Americans deserve targeted legislation that will speed up the distribution of vaccines, get Americans back to work and safely reopen our schools – no bipartisan and lavish spending on pork,” McDaniel said in a statement.
The other US Senator from Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine, brushed off criticism from Republicans in a Democratic press conference after Warner’s own questions and answers.
“If you look at the comparison of who we assigned the benefits to, you will find that the Democrats have distributed these benefits very fairly, while the Republicans have largely loaded the benefits on the top quintile of American earners.” Kaine told reporters Thursday.
Here’s a breakdown from Warner’s office of what the American bailout plan will do for Virginia:
- The bill provides for an additional round of stimulus checks: $ 1,400 for those earning less than $ 80,000 a year, and joint filers making less than $ 160,000. More than 7 million Virginians will receive direct payments totaling more than $ 9.3 billion, according to Warner’s office.
- The bill provides billions of additional reliefs for struggling Virginians who are unemployed through no fault of their own by extending historic unemployment insurance reforms set out in the CARES Act through September 6, 2021.
- The bill expands the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the self-employed, gig workers, freelancers, and other nontraditional workers, the $ 300 weekly federal boost, and the additional weeks of federal unemployment insurance for workers who take their regular state benefits. 256,320 Virginians had the opportunity to lose benefits in March or April if the programs had not been extended
Child tax credit:
- The American Rescue Plan makes the child tax credit fully refundable, increasing the loan amount for many families from $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 per child ages 6-17 (and $ 3,600 per child under 6)
Earned Income Tax Credit:
- 417,000 Virginia workers will benefit from an increased earned income tax credit.
- The US rescue plan includes: $ 306 million for Virginia Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) programs, $ 490 million for Virginia childcare stabilization grants, and $ 16.557 million for Virginia Head Start programs
- An increase in the child and dependent tax credit up to $ 4,000 for one child or $ 8,000 for two or more children makes the credit fully refundable.
- $ 2.11 billion for K-12 schools in Virginia to help school districts reopen safely for personal tuition and address the many needs students face due to the pandemic. Part of the funds will go towards combating learning loss, providing resources through the Disability Awareness Act (IDEA), and running summer enrichment and post-school education programs
- $ 846 million for colleges and universities in Virginia: Institutions must distribute half of their funds in student grants to help tackle the difficulties caused by COVID-19. The remaining portion of the funds can be used for reopening costs, lost revenue, classroom upgrades, PPE and other expenses
- $ 160 billion in national vaccinations and other health interventions, including testing, tracing, genome sequencing, public health staff, and supplies to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- Virginia receives $ 451 million for emergency rental assistance.
- The US rescue plan also provides $ 9.9 billion to help homeowners across the country struggling to afford their mortgage payments, utility bills, and other housing bills. Virginia is expected to receive between $ 154 million and $ 276 million from this pot to help homeowners financially stressed from the pandemic.
- Legislation extends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15% until September 30, 2021
- $ 7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As of this month, Virginia companies have received $ 3.5 billion of forgeable PPP loans to keep workers on payroll during COVID-19
- 15 billion USD for the EIDL (Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan) funding program. As of last month, 74,664 Virginia companies have received more than $ 4 billion in low-interest EIDL loans to help weather the COVID-19 crisis
- $ 28.6 billion for a new restaurant revitalization fund to provide grants to help small local restaurants, bars, and craft breweries stay in business and keep their employees busy. To provide full support to local restaurants, grants from the fund can be used along with the first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, SBA Economic Injury Loan Assistance, and Employee Retention Tax Credit
- $ 1.25 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program to support live entertainment venues and a critical solution to ensuring that venue operators can access both PPP and SVOGs
- New funding of $ 10 billion to the government’s small business loan initiative to help small businesses grow and create jobs
Aid to state and local governments
- The American rescue plan provides funds to state and local governments to cover costs associated with responding to COVID-19, assist workers in performing essential work during COVID-19, cover lost revenue due to public health emergency or to make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure
- The Commonwealth of Virginia receives direct government tax relief of $ 3.766 billion
- Virginia counties will receive $ 1.655 billion, metropolitan areas $ 628 million, and smaller cities $ 604 million
- The Commonwealth of Virginia will also receive $ 222 million to expand broadband and other infrastructure projects