This afternoon, the President signed into lawH.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The House passed the bill earlier today by voice vote and the Senate passed the bill earlier in the week by a vote of 96-0.
The bill provides approximately $2 trillion to stimulate the U.S. economy in the wake of the COVID-19-related economic downturn. H.R.748 includes a variety of incentives for both businesses and individuals, such as increased unemployment benefits, individual stimulus checks of up to $1,200, and loans for businesses.
Provisions of interest to the fire and emergency services include:
- $100 million to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program “for the purchase of personal protective equipment and related supplies, including reimbursements.”
- An additional $7 million for Wildland Fire Management “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including for personal protective equipment and baseline health testing for first responders.”
- $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
- A technical correction for Qualified Improvement Property (QIP). An error in the 2017 tax reform bill meant that this class of property, which generally includes interior improvements to buildings, did not receive 15-year depreciation or access to full expensing. The technical correction included in H.R.748 will provide 15-year depreciation and access to full expensing for QIP, helping to incentivize fire sprinklers. CFSI has been working to secure this change since 2018.
- $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund.
- $1 billion for the Defense Production Act “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” This may include addressing shortages of personal protective equipment and medical supplies such as ventilators.
- $16 billion for the National Strategic Stockpile to purchase personal protective equipment and other medical equipment.
- Language to help the Food and Drug Administration address drug shortages, including prioritizing review of certain drugs.
CFSI continues to advocate for the fire and emergency services to ensure they have the supplies and funding they need.