Wednesday, May 20, 2020

On Friday, May 15, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted on passage of a $3 trillion COVID-19 relief aid package titled the HEROES Act. While the Republican-led Senate and the White House have indicated they are not interested in passing another COVID-19 relief package yet, there will likely be some key components of this bill that arts advocates would like to see survive a negotiated House-Senate relief compromise package. You can weigh in now by sending a message to your Congressional delegation.

The highlights below of the HEROES Act gives some indication how a future relief package could support the arts sector. Key provisions include:

  • $875 billion in funding to state and local governments to offset the revenue shortfalls in their budgets in order to retain employees and programs.
  • $90 billion for grants to States to support statewide and local funding for elementary and secondary schools.
  • Extension of weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation for W2 and Self-employed workers from July 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
  • Changes to Payroll Protection Program (PPP), repealing the 75% payroll/25% overhead requirement for forgiveness and setting up a dedicated fund for nonprofit organization PPP loans with existing funds.  
  • $10 billion added to the SBA's Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
  • $10 million added each to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and $5 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
  • $5 billion added to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
  • Federal Reserve's Main Street Lending Program would now include specific eligibility to nonprofit organizations for low cost loans. Those nonprofits ineligible for PPP can have these Main Street Loans forgiven.
  • Those nonprofits who are Unemployment Self-Insured Employers would no longer have to pay 100% of the unemployment compensation and wait for 50% CARES Act reimbursement. States would instead be instructed to only collect half of the unemployment compensation payment.  

Check out these resources to assist you now:

  1. CARES Act Table Arts Funding Opportunities (HEROES Act provisions not included)
  2. Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Resource and Response Center (updated weekly)
  3. Economic Impact of COVID-19 Survey Dashboard (updated weekly)