Harrisburg − October 16, 2020 − Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus today outlined a plan to spend the remaining $1.331 billion in CARES money that Pennsylvania received as part of a federal assistance package earlier this year.

The money must be spent by December 31st on COVID-19 related needs or the state loses the authority to use it at all.

“When we passed our original spending plan for these dollars, we withheld a portion of our allocation to see where what would happen with COVID-19 through the summer and fall. We waited for more assistance from the federal government that never came. Washington has failed but here in PA, we have found that families, small businesses, and many other institutions need additional assistance for recovery,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. “We’ve been allocated these funds to help with recovery; it’s time to spend them. Folks need help now. I urge our Republican colleagues to add this to the agenda for our session days next week.”

“We are a long way from recovering what has been lost during the pandemic and sitting on $1.3 billion does nothing to help people who are hurting right now,” Sen. Hughes said. “We must drive dollars out to our existing and proven methods of distributing CARES funding immediately. Our families, workers, small businesses owners, and so many others are still struggling to get through this pandemic. They do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach, which is why we must act now. Furthermore, we need the federal government to enact a spending plan that helps states do more to help the people through the greatest crisis of our lifetimes.”

The Senate Democratic plan includes:

  • $125 million for individual and family relief with utility bill assistance
  • $575 million for business assistance, specifically for:
    • Nonprofit assistance
    • Main Street and Historically Disadvantaged Businesses
    • Barbers, salons, personal care industry
    • Tourism
    • Bars, taverns, restaurants, private event spaces and hospitality
  • $15 million food security
  • $125 million for high Medicaid hospitals
  • $141 million for higher education
  • $75 million for child care
  • $100 million for hazard pay in existing programs, and expanded programs for pharmacies
  • $150 million for property tax relief
  • $25 million for public safety

For more information on the Senate Democratic proposals for the first or second allocation of CARES funds, please visit https://www.pasenate.com/pacares/