The Equitable Recovery Commission (ERC) will consist of a diverse group of 12 members who together will provide accountability and oversight for the distribution of funds from the American Rescue Plan. The ERC will be charged with ensuring that we make wise choices in how to invest the money through an equity lens.
A broad range of services are needed to contain COVID-19 and are eligible uses, including vaccination programs; medical care; testing; contact tracing; support for isolation or quarantine; supports for vulnerable populations to access medical or public health services; public health surveillance (e.g., monitoring case trends, genomic sequencing for variants); enforcement of public health orders; public communication efforts; enhancement to health care capacity, including through alternative care facilities; purchases of personal protective equipment; support for prevention, mitigation, or other services in congregate living facilities (e.g., nursing homes, incarceration settings, homeless shelters, group living facilities) and other key settings like schools; ventilation improvements in congregate settings, health care settings, or other key locations; enhancement of public health data systems; and other public health responses. Capital investments in public facilities to meet pandemic operational needs are also eligible, such as physical plant improvements to public hospitals and health clinics or adaptations to public buildings to implement COVID-19 mitigation tactics.
Generally, funding uses eligible under CRF as a response to the direct public health impacts of COVID-19 will continue to be eligible under CSFRF/CLFRF, with the following two exceptions: (1) the standard for eligibility of public health and safety payrolls has been updated; and (2) expenses related to the issuance of tax-anticipation notes are not an eligible funding use.
The Interim Final Rule contains a non-exclusive list of programs or services that may be funded as responding to COVID-19 or the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency, along with considerations for evaluating other potential uses of Fiscal Recovery Funds not explicitly listed. The Interim Final Rule also provides flexibility for recipients to use Fiscal Recovery Funds for programs or services that are not identified on these non-exclusive lists but which meet the objectives of section 602(c)(1)(A) or 603(c)(1)(A) by responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts.
Consistent with the approach taken in the CRF, recipients may make deposits into the state account of the Unemployment Trust Fund up to the level needed to restore the prepandemic balances of such account as of January 27, 2020, or to pay back advances received for the payment of benefits between January 27, 2020 and the date when the Interim Final Rule is published in the Federal Register.
Eligible uses in this category include assistance to households; small businesses and nonprofits; and aid to impacted industries. Assistance to households includes, but is not limited to: food assistance; rent, mortgage, or utility assistance; counseling and legal aid to prevent eviction or homelessness; cash assistance; emergency assistance for burials, home repairs, weatherization, or other needs; internet access or digital literacy assistance; or job training to address negative economic or public health impacts experienced due to a worker’s occupation or level of training. Assistance to small business and non-profits includes, but is not limited to: • loans or grants to mitigate financial hardship such as declines in revenues or impacts of periods of business closure, for example by supporting payroll and benefits costs, costs to retain employees, mortgage, rent, or utilities costs, and other operating costs; • Loans, grants, or in-kind assistance to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation tactics, such as physical plant changes to enable social distancing, enhanced cleaning efforts, barriers or partitions, or COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or contact tracing programs; and • Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist with business planning needs.
Yes, provided the recipient considers whether, and the extent to which, the household has experienced a negative economic impact from the pandemic. Additionally, cash transfers must be reasonably proportional to the negative economic impact they are intended to address. Cash transfers grossly in excess of the amount needed to address the negative economic impact identified by the recipient would not be considered to be a response to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative impacts. In particular, when considering appropriate size of permissible cash transfers made in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments may consider and take guidance from the per person amounts previously provided by the federal government in response to the COVID crisis.
Use of Fiscal Recovery Funds is generally forward looking. The Interim Final Rule permits funds to be used to cover costs incurred beginning on March 3, 2021.
Generally, not. Recipients must demonstrate that funding uses directly address a negative economic impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency, including funds used for economic or workforce development. For example, job training for unemployed workers may be used to address negative economic impacts of the public health emergency and be eligible.
Aid provided to tourism, travel, and hospitality industries should respond to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic. For example, a recipient may provide aid to support safe reopening of businesses in the tourism, travel and hospitality industries and to districts that were closed during the COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as aid a planned expansion or upgrade of tourism, travel and hospitality facilities delayed due to the pandemic. Tribal development districts are considered the commercial centers for tribal hospitality, gaming, tourism and entertainment industries.
Yes, provided that recipients consider the extent of the impact in such industries as compared to tourism, travel, and hospitality, the industries enumerated in the statute. For example, nationwide the leisure and hospitality industry has experienced an AS OF JULY 19, 2021 7 approximately 17 percent decline in employment and 24 percent decline in revenue, on net, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Recipients should also consider whether impacts were due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as opposed to longer-term economic or industrial trends unrelated to the pandemic. Recipients should maintain records to support their assessment of how businesses or business districts receiving assistance were affected by the negative economic impacts of the pandemic and how the aid provided responds to these impacts.
Yes. Under the Interim Final Rule, recipients may use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including expenses related to COVID-19 vaccination programs. See 31 CFR 35.6(b)(1)(i). Programs that provide incentives reasonably expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated, or that motivate people to get vaccinated sooner than they otherwise would have, are an allowable use of funds so long as such costs are reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefit.
Yes. Under the Interim Final Rule, recipients may use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to provide assistance to unemployed workers. See 31 CFR 35.6(b)(4). This assistance can include job training or other efforts to accelerate rehiring and thus reduce unemployment, such as childcare assistance, assistance with transportation to and from a jobsite or interview, and incentives for newly employed workers.
Yes. The Interim Final Rule permits a broad range of services to unemployed or underemployed workers and other individuals that suffered negative economic impacts from the pandemic. That can include public jobs programs, subsidized employment, combined education and on-the-job training programs, or job training to accelerate rehiring or address negative economic or public health impacts experienced due to a worker’s occupation or level of training. The broad range of permitted services can also include other employment supports, such as childcare assistance or assistance with transportation to and from a jobsite or interview. The Interim Final Rule includes as an eligible use re-hiring public sector staff up to the government’s level of pre-pandemic employment. “Public sector staff” would not include individuals participating in a job training or subsidized employment program administered by the recipient.