The COVID Aid Package Contains Billions For Arizona | Latest news

Show Low can expect $ 3.7 million in profits if the U.S. Senate passes the House-approved version of a $ 1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package. Navajo County could get $ 22 million and Apache County around $ 14 million, according to figures released by Rep. Tom O’Halleran’s office.

The state of Arizona is getting $ 7.5 billion in additional state aid, despite the fact that the state actually topped up its reserve fund during the pandemic and the proposed state budget includes both school funding cuts and a new round of tax cuts.

The American Recovery Act was passed directly by one party and also includes expanded unemployment benefits, $ 1,400 checks for most taxpayers, money for COVID-19 tests, grants and loans for small businesses, money for reservation communities, and money for schools.

Most cities in Apache and Navajo counties could make between $ 500,000 and $ 2 million. Taxpayers could get their $ 1,400 checks quickly, but local governments will likely not receive funding until the end of the year after they approve their budgets for the current fiscal year. However, counties and cities can include expected grants in their budgets and simply not spend them if the grants don’t come in.

“This week our country reached a devastating milestone – 500,000 American people died from this deadly virus,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran, Democrat of District 1, which covers much of southern Gila County and northeastern Arizona. “With over 18 million Americans unemployed, nearly 24 million starving and 40 million unable to afford rent, now is the time to act. I was keen to vote in favor of this important package, which will provide a lifeline to families dealing with the most acute public health crisis of our lives and help ensure that shots get into the arms faster. “

Rep. Paul Gosar, who represents Rim Country and much of western Arizona, missed the vote. In a letter to Congress, he said, “I am still unable to physically participate in the procedures in the Chamber of the House as the public health emergency continues.”

Instead, he attended the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), a far-right group that includes many white nationalist groups. Organizer Nick Fuentes sponsored the Charlottesville white nationalist rally and was banned from YouTube for hate speech, according to the Arizona Republic. Gosar then took part in the Conservative Political Action Committee where he said, “I denounce when we talk about white racism. It is not appropriate. “

The American Recovery Act passed 219-212 votes, with two Democrats joining all Republicans in the opposition. Critics of the measure said it was too expensive and had too many additional expenses not directly related to the pandemic. The House Bill included a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $ 15. However, the Senate MP has already stated that the minimum wage cannot be taken into account in the proposed budget comparison in the Senate.

O’Halleran welcomed the approval of the stimulus bill

“American families spent much of 2020 fighting under the CARES Act without help from Congress, watching partisan policies take precedence over the real help they needed to keep food on the table or more Monthly rent to be paid. With the historic introduction of not one but several effective and safe vaccines, an end to this national nightmare is almost in sight. I strongly support this bill, which is long overdue, and urge the Senate to take up and pass our laws as soon as possible. “

O’Halleran said the package includes additional help for reservation communities with the Navajo, Hopi, Gila, and two Apache reservations in his district. The $ 20 billion in direct aid to tribal communities includes $ 6 billion for Indian health services, $ 850 million for reservation schools, $ 900 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and $ 750 million for housing and community development .

At this writing, the U.S. Senate is expected to review the package mid-week. A group of moderate Republicans had proposed an alternative package at about a third the cost. The Biden administration has admitted it cannot win the Senate as usual without defeating a filibuster – which requires 60 votes. The Senate is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting in the event of a tie. Senate Democrats say they will take advantage of the complicated end of a budget equalization bill that requires a simple majority vote but would mean lowering the minimum wage. Other provisions could also be affected, including pension funds, health grants that allow laid-off workers to stay on their employer’s health plan, and other provisions.

Republicans complain that the economy doesn’t need such a massive infusion of debt-backed incentives. New COVID-19 cases are now falling from January highs and around 25% of the population is already vaccinated. Republicans in the House of Representatives complained that despite the government’s promise to reach bipartisan agreements, they had been left out of most negotiations. During the hearings, Republicans criticized many individual elements of the massive bill, including $ 30 billion to fund urban transit systems and $ 50 million to fund family planning. They complained that $ 1 trillion from the original CARES bill is not being spent – mostly money that has been allocated but not yet spent. Critics also complained that much of the spending in the American Recovery Act won’t hit the economy until the end of the year, when the economy may not need to pick up.

Rep. Gosar himself, in an earlier newsletter to voters, praised the aid measure for raising additional loans for small businesses affected by closings.

“While I firmly believe that the best economic response to the COVID pandemic is to allow our economies to reopen to those who choose to return to life based on their own health and personal choices, we cannot Ignoring That The Reason Is So Small Companies have gone under, lost revenue, or laid off workers, that’s a government mandate. The government created the problem, and so the government must provide facilities and resources to restore your prosperity. I supported the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) it created, ”he wrote.

He advocated having companies write off the grants they relied on to continue operations from their taxes or avoid laying off workers in the pandemic. The IRS had previously ruled out such a write-off as it effectively allowed companies to write off the covered expenses twice.

Gosar said, “This is totally unacceptable because 1. these companies would not have needed PPP to replace their income if we hadn’t closed their stores, and 2. if we didn’t allow them to write off their expenses as usual, we will Doing this will give them a tax hike in addition to restricting their business. “

He said he had campaigned to make the loans and grants tax deductible and that the provision was included in the final package.

The provisions of the American Rescue Plan, according to a notice from O’Halleran, include:

• $ 20 billion to improve COVID-19 vaccinations.

• Checks of $ 1,400 per person in addition to the payments approved in December of $ 600 per person.

• An extended weekly unemployment benefit of $ 400 through August 29, 2021

• $ 49 billion to expand COVID-19 testing, contact tracking, and damage control.

• $ 130 billion to reopen K-12 schools safely.

• $ 7.6 billion in broadband investment to expand Internet connectivity for college students and rural, tribal and underserved communities.

• $ 26 billion in emergency rental assistance.

• $ 195.3 billion for states.

• $ 130.2 billion for local government.

• $ 20 billion to recognized tribal governments.

• $ 4.5 billion for US territories.

• Additional $ 7.25 billion funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for businesses – including nonprofits.

• $ 15 billion in COVID-19 emergency grants under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

• A 15% increase in the Maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Grocery Brands) by September 30, plus $ 1.1 billion in government administration costs.

• US $ 5 billion in food aid to low-income children.

• $ 39 billion for childcare workers.

• $ 13 billion for the VA to provide health services, including funds to cover co-payments and $ 400 million to retrain unemployed veterans.

Help from the local government of Apache and Navajo Counties:

• Arizona: $ 7.5 billion

• Apache County: $ 14 million

• Navajo County: $ 21 million

• Holbrook: $ 1.2 million

• Show Low: $ 2.7 million

• Snowflake: $ 1.4 million

• Springerville: $ 472,000

• Winslow: $ 2.2 million

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other issues for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach out to him at [email protected]

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