On May 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR6800, also known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The $3 trillion House bill, which includes additional funding for several early childhood programs, has drawn heavy criticism from Senate Republicans as well as President Trump, making it likely that the Senate will introduce its own bill. Assuming this occurs, negotiations between Senate and House leadership teams will be needed to pull out acceptable provisions that can pass with the support of both legislative bodies.
Among its other provisions, the HEROES Act:
*HR6800 defines "essential workers" as:
The Centers for Disease Control issued new documents on Thursday designed to provide guidance on how child care programs, schools, restaurants and bars and other establishments could begin reopening in the face of coronavirus.
The "decision tool" for child care programs recommends that businesses should consider reopening if reopening is consistent with state and local orders, and the businesses are ready to protect children and employees at higher risk for severe illness and are able to screen children and employees upon arrival for coronavirus symptoms and history of exposure.
President Trump signed H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. into law on Friday. This $484 billion COVID-relief bill is the fourth COVID related package passed by Congress. This bill provides an additional $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion to a new coronavirus testing program.
Lawmakers are expected to return to the Capitol in person on May 4. At that time, negotiations will begin on the next recovery package. As many policymakers have signaled, more still needs to be done to help struggling industries and the economy during the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published updated guidelines for home-, center- and school-based programs that will continue to offer child care services for the time being during the public health emergency. The guidance covers basic preparedness and operational concerns, tips for implementing to social distancing recommendations, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, equipment and toys, drop-off and pick-up policies, diapering and other sanitary procedures, food handling, addressing the needs of high-risk groups and more.
Naturally, First Five Nebraska recognizes that these recommendations may or may not be practical, depending on the structure and operations of specific providers. This information is presented simply to keep our readers current with information being produced by the CDC.
Today, the House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with a voice vote in the affirmative and President Trump signed the bill into law. The bill will have significant implications for the viability of families and child care providers throughout the nation. For more details on the content of the bill, see below.
Late Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with a vote of 96-0. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which is expected to vote on it Friday, March 27. If approved, the $2 trillion bipartisan legislation will be the largest financial relief package ever proposed by Congress.
The legislation offers significant assistance to the child care industry, including:
First Five Nebraska thanks Senator Deb Fischer and Senator Ben Sasse for voting in favor of this important legislation. The U.S. Senate is now in recess until April 20.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., state and federal officials have enacted policies and procedures to reduce its spread. As of today, 21 states have implemented some form of “shelter in place” regulation, while businesses and schools have shut down or moved to remote operations. To provide financial relief, Congress has proposed three COVID-19 packages.
Among the most urgent questions is whether the CARES Act will address the status of unemployment insurance assistance for early childhood professionals—we expect to know more after the Senate votes and the legislation is taken up by the House of Representatives. Check the Daily Digest for updated information about this legislation.