Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion Aid Bill

Situation Report | March 8, 2021

The U.S. Senate over the weekend passed the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus plan, following action in the House last week.

As extensively reported in recent weeks, the package includes the extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, direct payments to Americans, funding for the coronavirus response, as well as aid to states and local governments, along with many other provisions.

Among the $350 billion in aid to states and local governments is an estimated $12 billion for New York State, which faces a $15 billion deficit, according to the Cuomo Administration.

The timing of aid is pivotal for New York State’s budget, now under negotiation.

The Governor’s state budget proposal, announced in January, was built on the assumption that the federal government would provide $6 billion in aid.

Under that calculation, the proposed budget includes the continuation and augmentation of prior across-the-board Medicaid cuts, which would rise to a 2.5-percent impact in the coming fiscal year, along with 50-percent cuts in workforce recruitment and retention funds, plus other measures, to bridge the estimated $15 billion gap.

In our advocacy with state lawmakers, HCA continues to argue for the elimination of these proposed cuts to home care, along with investments in needed areas like workforce, through the assistance of federal aid. Our State Advocacy Day tomorrow is a critical opportunity for members to join us in this call. If you haven’t done so already, please register for this important event here today.

The Senate bill differs from the House version in several ways. One key difference: the Senate version doesn’t include a minimum wage hike (to $15 per hour), among other changes that now require a House vote on the package before it can go to President Biden for his signature.