The U.S. House of Representatives on March 10, 2021, passed the Senate-amended H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The ARP provides $1.9 trillion in additional relief to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This follows the enactment of nearly $4 trillion in COVID relief in 2020. President Joe Biden called for Congress to enact the ARP to provide relief for individuals and businesses struggling due to COVID-19, as well as to achieve other priorities of the Biden Administration and Congress. ARP includes provisions on aid to state and local governments, hard-hit industries and communities, tax changes affecting individuals and businesses, and other provisions.

The latest COVID relief legislation was enacted as part of Congress' fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget, and includes provisions impacting a wide variety of stakeholders. The following chart highlights some noteworthy provisions.

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  • Food supply chain and agriculture pandemic response
  • Emergency rural development grants for rural healthcare
  • Pandemic program administration funds
  • Funding for the USDA Office of Inspector General for oversight of COVID-related programs
  • Farm loan assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers
  • USDA assistance and support for socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, forest land owners and operators, and groups
  • Use of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for commodities and associated expenses

Nutrition Assistance

  • Additional assistance for supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) online purchasing and technology improvements
  • Additional funding for other nutrition assistance programs
  • Commodity supplemental food program
  • Improvements to WIC benefits, program modernization
  • Meals and supplements reimbursements for individuals who have not attained the age of 25


  • Funding for K-12 General Stabilization Fund
  • Funding to help children experiencing homelessness
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) for colleges and universities
  • Stipulations for use


  • Aid for child care agencies and aid to providers affected by the pandemic

Water and Utility Assistance

  • Funding for utility assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Funding for water assistance program

Healthcare – Public Health

  • Funding for COVID-19 vaccine activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Funding for vaccine confidence activities
  • Funding for supply chain for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and medical supplies
  • Reduced cost-sharing

Healthcare – Testing

  • Funding for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and mitigation activities
  • Funding for genomic sequencing and surveillance
  • Funding for global health
  • Funding for data modernization and forecasting center

Healthcare – Public Health Workforce and Public Health Investments

  • Funding for public health workforce and medical reserve corps
  • Funding for community health centers and community care
  • Funding for National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps
  • Funding for teaching health centers that operate graduate medical education
  • Funding for family planning

Healthcare – Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder

  • Block grants for community mental health services
  • Funding for mental health and substance use disorder training for healthcare professionals, paraprofessionals and public safety officers
  • Funding for education and awareness campaign encouraging healthy work conditions and use of mental health and substance use disorder services by healthcare professionals
  • Funding for community-based funding for local substance use disorder services and behavioral health needs
  • Funding for pediatric mental health care access

Healthcare – Medicaid and Medicare

  • Mandatory coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and administration and treatment under Medicaid
  • Modifications to certain coverage under Medicaid for pregnant and postpartum women
  • State option to provide qualifying community-based mobile crisis intervention services
  • Floor on the Medicare area wage index for hospitals in all-urban states
  • Secretarial authority to temporarily waive or modify application of certain Medicare requirements with respect to ambulance services furnished during certain emergency periods Funding for Office of Inspector General

Defense Production Act

  • Funding to carry out the Defense Production Act for medical supplies and equipment such as testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccines

Housing, Homelessness and Rental Assistance

  • Emergency rental assistance and housing vouchers
  • Emergency assistance for rural housing
  • Homelessness assistance and supportive services program
  • Homeowner Assistance Fund
  • Fair Housing Initiatives Program

Public Transportation

  • Federal Transit Administration grants, including funding for transit, operating assistance grants and Capital Investment grants

Disaster Relief

  • Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund
  • Pandemic Response Accountability Committee funding availability
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency appropriation
  • Emergency food and shelter program funding
  • Humanitarian relief
  • Emergency management performance grant funding

Cybersecurity and Technology Modernization

  • Funding for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Digital Service, Technology Modernization Fund

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • Additional funding for the PPP program
  • Expands PPP eligibility to include tax-exempt nonprofits whose lobbying activities do not comprise more than 15 percent of its activities and certain Internet publishing organizations
  • Adds COBRA premium assistance as an allowable payroll cost under the PPP program

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

  • Appropriates funding to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for EIDL grants for eligible small businesses


  • New Restaurant Revitalization Fund to provide grants to eligible restaurants

Shuttered Venue Operators

  • Additional funding for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program


  • Extension of Air Transportation Payroll Support Program
  • Relief for airports
  • Emergency TSA Employee Leave Fund


  • Funding for E-Rate support for emergency educational connections and devices

Unemployment Provisions

  • Extension of unemployment insurance
  • Unemployment insurance tax relief


  • Additional $1,400 per qualifying individual in direct stimulus payments
  • Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Credits for Paid Sick and Family Leave
  • Employee Retention Credit
  • Extension of Excess Business Loss Limitation
  • Expansion of limitation on excessive employee remuneration

State and Local Assistance

  • Of the approximately $350 billion for fiscal relief, 57 percent is allocated to states and 35 percent to local governments
  • Allowable use of funds
  • Reporting requirements, administration of recovery funds

Tribal Provisions

  • Portion of COVID State Fiscal Recovery Fund allocated to tribal governments
  • Funding for health services
  • Housing assistance and supportive services programs
  • Resources for the preservation and maintenance of Native American languages
  • Education funding

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is evolving and that the subject matter discussed in these publications may change on a daily basis. Please contact your responsible Holland & Knight lawyer or the authors of this alert for timely advice.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your Holland & Knight representative or other competent legal counsel.

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