Addressing the Impact of COVID-19

Last week, I voted with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass a supplemental budget to facilitate federal CARES Act funding to reimburse communities hard-hit by COVID-19.

This bill follows the April passage in Congress of the Federal CARES Act, which requires states to expend funds on items related to COVID-19 for federal reimbursement. This supplemental budget directs funds to address vital needs including for personal protective equipment, field hospitals and contact tracing.

The spending bill includes, among other items:

  • $350 million for personal protective equipment costs across the Commonwealth
  • $139 million for increased rate add-ons to congregate care providers
  • $94 million for incentive pay for human service employees
  • $85 million for field hospitals and shelters
  • $44 million for Community Tracing Collaborative
  • $81.6 million for child care needs during the pandemic and re-opening
  • $500,000 to create an Early Education and Care Public-Private Trust Fund to establish an infrastructure to foster public-private and philanthropic efforts in support of childcare providers

Adopted into the bill were a number of amendments offered by my colleagues that I supported. Additional funds were allocated for nursing home COVID-19 testing, regional Buy Local organizations, and a food for veterans program. Several other amendments were adopted that gave our Regional Tourism Councils and Restaurant Promotion Comission more flexibility and extended the availability of funds for the Healthy Incentives Program.

I am glad to report that several amendments I offered were also adopted to address the impact of COVID-19 on Cape Ann:

  • $100,000 for The Open Door to deal with the heightened demand that the pandemic has placed on our food safety net
  • $60,000 for Wellspring House receives for a mentoring program to connect individuals with living-wage employment
  • $25,000 for First R Foundation and Pathways for Children receive to promote children’s literacy as the pandemic interrupts our children’s education

This legislation now must be passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Baker.