Cooper and Community Leaders Announce Distribution of CARES Act Funds for TN-05
NASHVILLE – At a press conference this morning, Rep. Jim Cooper announced how CARES Act funds were allocated in Davidson, Dickson, and Cheatham Counties. The $2.5 trillion CARES Act is the largest relief bill in U.S. history. It was signed into law in March but there has been little transparency on how funds were distributed within congressional districts despite congressional efforts to monitor the funds.
The largest share of relief to the 5th District, nearly $5 billion, went directly to individuals as either stimulus checks ($1,200/month) or as extra federal unemployment benefits ($600/week or $2,400 per month in addition to the State unemployment benefits of $275/week). Both types of payments are largely unprecedented in U.S. history and they were designed to avert another deep recession like 2008 or a Great Depression like 1933.
In addition to the $1.2 billion in individual benefits, another $650 million went to organizations in and around Nashville. The breakdown can be visualized in the pie-charts in the attached presentation but major categories of recipients were health providers, hospitals, nonprofits, schools and universities. These funds were designed to prevent permanent harm to health delivery systems and critical government services due to the novel coronavirus. It is estimated that the SBA loans enabled local businesses to retain 170,000 jobs that would otherwise have been lost to the COVID-19 crisis.
“The CARES Act was the largest relief package in American history,” Rep. Jim Cooper said. “It was critical to keeping Middle Tennesseans afloat and avoiding another Depression. Now Congress must pass the HEROES Act immediately, or something very close, in order to stave off the August crisis we will otherwise be facing.”
Along with Rep. Cooper, leaders of the following organizations spoke about how funds from the CARES Act impacted their operations:
Amy Frogge, Metro Nashville Public Schools Board Chair
Katina Beard, President & CEO, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center
Juliana Ospina Cano, Executive Director, Conexión Américas
Barbara Tharpe, Director of Student Financial Aid
A local Nashville small business owner, Steve Boyle, also shared his experience of applying for unemployment insurance benefits after the pandemic hit the U.S. earlier this year. “Congressman Cooper’s office was great in getting me to this lifeline of $600/week unemployment stimulus. Without it, I would definitely be in trouble. And the fact that it is now being questioned on whether it’s going to continue or not is a whole other situation,” Steve Boyle said. “All it does is get me through the month…to mess with it anymore would be catastrophic with us middle class folks so I am here also to implore the Senate to please continue the $600 a week unemployment stimulus because without it, it is total catastrophe out there…it certainly would be for me.”
These extraordinary individual benefits are set to expire in less than two weeks, on July 31, unless Congress extends the benefits. The House of Representatives has already voted to extend these benefits until Dec. 31 in the HEROES Act but the Senate has failed to act. In short, we are about to face the most predictable and preventable crisis in U.S. history because we know that with 30 million Americans unemployed, and the vast majority of Americans hurt by COVID-19 shutdowns, people will be in desperate need of help in August. The Eviction moratorium also expires this Saturday, July 25. Landlords will be permitted to evict those who have not been able to pay their rent since March. Middle Tennesseans should call our U.S. Senators. They hold the key to more aid in the coming weeks and months.
A video of the press conference may be viewed on Rep. Cooper’s YouTube page here.
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Note: A previous media advisory stated the U.S. Small Business Association would participate. While SBA contributed to the data to be released at the press conference, no SBA representative spoke.