The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748, was signed by President Trump on Friday. The wide-ranging legislation provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
The CARES Act provides $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by COVID-19. The package includes a paycheck protection program, small business debt relief, recovery rebates for individuals, airline support, and the creation of a $150 billion coronavirus relief fund for states, territories and tribal governments.
For agriculture, the CARES Act includes $48.9 billion for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes $9.5 billion for the Secretary of Agriculture to assist agriculture producers, including specialty crop producers; producers who support local food systems such as farmers' markets, schools, and restaurants; and livestock producers, including dairy.
Additionally, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is replenished with $14 billion. The CCC assists commodity and income support programs, natural resources conservation programs, disaster assistance programs and the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
USDA food and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Nutrition Programs, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and The Emergency Food Assistance Program will receive additional funding to ensure nutrition needs are met.
The CARES Act also includes increased funding to help improve distance learning and telemedicine in rural areas and help expand broadband access across the country.
NCGA played an active role in the development of the CARES Act and will continue to work closely with members of Congress and federal agencies on its implementation and future legislative efforts to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.