COVID-19 Update 3/25: The Latest on the Federal Stimulus
As Congress continues neogtiations on legislative vehicles in response to the coronavirus outbreak, there are multiple efforts underway to increase access to food and financial relief.
Your diligent work to make sure vulnerable Californians are getting the food they need during this pandemic is greatly appreciated. We are grateful for your perseverance and are here to be both a reliable resource on the quickly evolving policy landscape and a partner in advocacy as we respond to this crisis together. We are with you and will continue to do our part so you can continue to do yours. Please scroll through to see updates and ways you can advocate. For frequently updated information on California’s food security response visit CFPA’s COVID-19 webpage.
On the Hill
Lawmakers raced through the week attempting to negotiate a third stimulus bill in response to COVID-19. Earlier today, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released a summary of their proposed bill, S. 3548, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act). House leaders have signalled that they are reviewing the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement and they plan to move quickly to send it to President Trump for swift enactment. This past week, we briefed California’s congressional delegation alongside our partners at the California Association of Food Banks, Western Center on Law and Poverty, and the County Welfare Directors Association of California on California’s response to the pandemic and existing gaps in hunger relief. Unfortunately, a number of the issues that were raised have not made their way into the Senate's latest version of the third stimulus bill. The funding package as it stands, includes many key investments that will help Californians weather this crisis including stimulus payments, unemployment insurance, and funding for states and localities, but the act falls short of meeting the needs of struggling Californians, particularly the most vulnerable. It also fails to ensure that all families, regardless of their immigration status, can access these resources. We will have to redouble our efforts for a later legislative vehicle to bring the relief that Californians desperately need. Please continue to reach out to your Members of Congress about your community’s needs: call or email your Senator and your Congressional member. Let them know they should quickly pass the bill and the President should immediately sign it, but that congress still needs to address the areas where this COVID-19 economic response bill falls short.
Last week the president signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will greatly support access to food for individuals and families impacted by coronavirus and the shelter in place protections taking hold across the country. In response the Families First Coronovirus Response Act, the United States Department of Agriculture has established nationwide waivers to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. These waivers are effective immediately, and remain in effect through June 30, 2020, or until expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier. You can see a list of California's approved waiver's here.
Here in California
California’s state administrators are working hard to ensure a smooth roll out of the administrative flexibilities made available through USDA and following passage of H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Check out these webpages for more information about the changes underway in California to provide food relief for young children, school-aged children, and older adults impacted by the pandemic.
In Your Local Community
We hear you. Efforts by congress, the United States Department of Agriculture, and our state administrators are valued, but still falling short of meeting unprecedented needs here in California. Please continue to share these challenges and potential solutions with us so we can elevate them and advocate alongside you. If your community is experiencing pressing needs/challenges/concerns please reach out. We are in this with you.