Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Announces FEMA and Education Funding to Hawai‘i, New IRS Webpage for People to Get Direct Benefits
April 15, 2020
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced new federal resources and distributing of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act “CARES Act” to help Hawai‘i cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, including an online tool — the “Get My Payment” App — to track individual Economic Impact Payments.
“During this time of critical need for individuals, small businesses, healthcare providers, and our state, we are working to ensure Federal funds get to those who need them most. More funding towards disaster relief and our Department of Education is on the way, due to the last legislative aid package (CARES Act) passed by Congress,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “While these resources will help, they are not enough. Even as people start to receive their one-time Economic Impact Payment, it is not enough — direct basic payments will need to continue for as long as this healthcare crisis continues. We need contact tracing and testing, we need more PPE for our healthcare workers, and we need all residents in the state to stay home and wear face masks if they must go out in public. We must take care of each other now, and rebuild together when this crisis is over.”
The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today announced an online portal, the Get My Payment tool, for those eligible to track their Economic Impact Payment. The tool will also allow taxpayers to provide their direct deposit information so that they can receive the money electronically rather than by a paper check.
The Department of Education announced $3 billion, authorized by the CARES Act, to be made available to governors through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. Hawai‘i will be receiving almost $10 million through this fund. The money will be distributed by the Governor to students and educational organizations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The CARES Act also provided $30.75 billion in support for the Education Stabilization Fund to support education across the country. Hawai‘i will receive an estimated $88.2 million to support K-12 school districts, colleges, and universities through the crisis. $43.1 million will be for K-12 schools, $35 million for higher education institutions, and $10.1 million for the Governor to distribute to schools based on need. The funding also includes $154 million for the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The funds include $100 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Performance Grant Supplemental Allocation. The money is available to all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia as part of the CARES Act. The funds are used to assist these governments in their public health and emergency management activities supporting prevention of and response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. States and territories can apply for funding by April 28.
The U.S. Department of Transportation also announced the distribution of approximately $10 billion in emergency funds through the CARES Act’s Airport Grant Program. Hawai‘i is receiving over $133 million in the emergency funds to support 15 airports across the state. The state-by-state and airport-by-airport breakdown is available here.
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has hosted four tele-town hall events, on March 18, March 25, April 1, and April 8 to update Hawai‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as community leaders to answer questions from across the state.
She created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sends out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.
Protecting and Providing for Americans During the Crisis
In early March, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced H.Res.897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.
In March and early April, she cosponsored H.Res.908, a resolution which draws attention to the increased anti-Asian bigotry being witnessed during the coronavirus crisis and calls on the Federal government to work with state and local law enforcement to confront and prosecute hate crimes related to this, as well as reached out to U.S. Departments/Agencies, Congressional Leaders, and mortgage lenders to urge them to take measures that respect the hardships faced by individuals and families during this pandemic including a halt to all foreclosure and eviction proceedings and urging support for SNAP and WIC. She continues to call for direct support for those that are most in need in the relief bills before Congress, including farmers, ranchers, military families, rural communities, those living paycheck to paycheck, and the communities that rely on the tourism industry for their livelihoods.
Rep. Gabbard has continued to work to make sure that much-needed medical supplies, testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are readily available and recently sent a letter requesting that the Trump Administration prioritize working with our trading partners to ensure medical providers can obtain needed equipment quickly. She also sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services calling for the Departments to ensure access to PPE for essential childcare providers.
In March, working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sent two letters calling on President Trump to support Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.
Securing Emergency Funding
To date, Congress has passed 3 emergency funding bills:
H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (on March 4)
H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (on March 14)
H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (on March 27)
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provided urgently needed, immediate funds to help with the initial impact of the virus on America. She voted to pass this bill which included funds for 14 community health centers in Hawai‘i which received more than $750,000 combined in support.
Next, she voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.
The CARES Act includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i. Though the bill included Rep. Gabbard’s idea for a direct benefit payment to support Americans reeling from the pandemic’s impact, it fell short of the full scope suggested in her legislation, H.Res.897, and she urged Congress to do more.
In the weeks following the passage of the CARES Act, Hawai‘i received over $142 million in emergency funds to help support healthcare providers. This included more than $10 million in additional funds to the 14 community health centers which received funds after the first emergency bill as well as $132 million to other healthcare providers across the State to help cover the costs they are incurring due to the crisis. However, this $132 million came with the stipulation that these healthcare providers may not engage in “surprise billing” of patients they have treated for COVID-19.
Also, Hawai‘i received over $107 million in funds through the CARES Act to support public transportation systems, community public health infrastructure, and housing for vulnerable communities by way of Federal Transit Authority grants, Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs), and the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program.
Hawai‘i also received the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the distribution of approximately $10 billion in emergency funds through the CARES Act’s Airport Grant Program. Hawai‘i is receiving over $133 million in the emergency funds to support 15 airports across the state. You can view the state-by-state and airport-by-airport breakdown here.
Calls for Preventative Measures
In early April, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for the resignation of Hawai‘i Department of Health officials Bruce Anderson and Dr. Sarah Park because of their repeated failures that put the health, lives and well-being of the people of Hawai‘i at risk. She added that should they refuse to step down, Governor Ige should fire them.
On March 21, Rep. Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus.
As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they could guarantee all passengers would be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.
Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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