Information on emergency legislative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic

So far, five bills have passed through the House and Senate and are now signed into law.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319)

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, legislation that is historic for its breadth and ambition but more importantly because, unlike previous stimulus efforts, the direct beneficiaries of this legislation are working families.

The package is rightly getting a great deal of attention for the direct payments of up to $1,400 to lower- and middle-income Americans, but it also accomplishes much more, providing aid on a variety of fronts that will help keep workers safe and secure now and into the future. Below are some of its most significant accomplishments.

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act - CARES 3.5 (H.R. 266)

Click here to download this summary as a printable PDF.

On April 24, 2020, the 4th emergency supplemental plan became law to provide additional aid for the COVID-19 pandemic. Commonly known as CARES 3.5, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act is dramatically shorter bill (HR 266).

The two sections of the bill are focused on the following: 

Increases authority for commitments and appropriations for Paycheck Protection Program

The legislation increases the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by $321 billion.

The health provisions in the bill provide $100 billion in new health care funding, in addition to new requirements for a national testing strategy.

The bill requires a number of testing and data collection requirements. First being a national strategic testing plan that details how the Administration will increase domestic testing capacity, address disparities, and provide assistance and resources to states, localities, territories, and tribes.

There are also requirements to do regular reporting of demographic data, including on race, ethnicity, age, sex, geographic region, and other factors for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and epidemiological analysis of such data.

Finally the bill requires states, localities, territories, and tribes to submit to the Secretary information on tests needed, laboratory and testing capacity, and how it will use provided resources.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act - CARES Act (S. 3548)

Click here to download a PDF summary of the CARES Act you can share with members of your local.

The bill has more than ten times the amount spent on the first two coronavirus bills combined. It's more than double the cost of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was the most significant stimulus bill enacted following the 2008 financial crisis.

Here are a few key provisions:

What's Missing: 

The bill is massive, and we are still trying to unravel it, but we also know we need to continue to push for more relief and economic stimulus. We will continue to get information to you as the situation changes.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)

This is a critical first step in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance we need.

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074)

This is an emergency spending bill that was signed into law March 6, 2020.

It allocates $8.3 billion for help to fund vaccine development, treatment, and public health efforts. You can find a breakdown of where that money is going HERE.

What we still need

H.R. 6559, the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020 

Click here to read our letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to pass this legislation. It is essential that Congress ensures all essential workers are protected during this national pandemic. The COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020 would require OSHA to take the emergency action necessary to protect our nation’s vital workforce, and we urge Congress to pass or include this legislation in the next COVID-19 related package. 

H.R. 6390/S. 3568The Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act of 2020 

Click here to read our letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to pass this legislation. The Mediacl Supply Chain Emergency Act would ensure critically needed medical supplies are produced and delivered in a rapid, efficient manner by utilizing the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up manufacturing. 

Other items

We have outlined a number of asks on what federal assistance looks like in response of COVID-19 and a possible recession.

Additional Union Resources

USW COVID-19 Resources

Position statements on trade and health and safety.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

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Communications Department
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