NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Legislation passed on Wednesday, March 25 that would provide immediate relief to New Mexicans who are struggling amid the coronavirus outbreak. The $2 trillion package includes several provisions that would support New Mexican residents including direct relief for small businesses, emergency resources for hospitals, and direct payments to individual residents.

The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate with a vote of 96-0 and is expected to be passed by the House. It would then need to be signed into law by the president.

New Mexico will receive $1.25 billion out of the COVID 19 relief bill, where does that money go?

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall says that money is “targeted primarily to New Mexico as a state government and local/municipal governments.” The City of Albuquerque will apply directly to the federal government for funding relief because of its population size. It stands to get between $100 and $150 million, according to Mayor Tim Keller. All other smaller municipalities will apply for government funding relief through the state of New Mexico, which then will apply directly to the Feds.

Unemployment Insurance Has Been Expanded

The legislation includes the expansion of unemployment insurance to cover more New Mexicans and provides additional benefits during this health crisis.

  • The extended unemployment insurance program increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week and makes sure that workers who are laid-off, on average, will receive full pay for four months.
  • The bill ensures all workers are protected regardless of their place of work and includes employees at small, medium, and large businesses as well as the self-employed and those in the gig economy.
  • Furloughed workers are allowed to stay on as employees to ensure that when the crisis is over, they will be able to continue work with their employer.

Direct Financial Support for Workers

  • The legislation provides $1,200 in direct payments to individual New Mexicans, $2,400 for couples who are married, and $500 per child.
  • The full payment is available for those making up to $75,000 individually and $150,000 for those who are married.
  • The amount is phased out for those who are above the income cap.
  • FAQs about Stimulus Checks: When? How much? Will I be taxed later?

Provides Relief for Small Businesses

The legislation features provisions to support and provide relief to small businesses that were negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • The bill includes $377 billion in small business aid and includes up to $10 million in Payment Protection Program loans for small businesses who have up to 500 employees.
  • The loans will be converted to grants as long as employers maintain their previous payroll through December 31, 2019.

Can Relief Bill Loans Be Forgiven?

Senator Udall says that small businesses and non-profits under 500 total people per entity, will be eligible for $10 Million loans each. The loans turn into grants with the condition that companies must keep employees on the payroll.

“The important part of this crisis we’re in is that the money (will) go to the workers… and the small business that applies for this is going to have to assert that they’re doing that, that they qualify under the program and that they are keeping their employees on the payroll” The government will determine if the loan turns into the grant.

Hospitals and Healthcare Workers Receive Resources

The bill provides over $150 billion for the healthcare system and includes funding for medical facilities and hospitals. It puts $100 billion into hospitals and the health system, over $1 billion into the Indian Health Service, and billions into investments including:

  • personal protective equipment for those in healthcare,
  • testing supplies,
  • new construction to house patients,
  • increased workforce,
  • an increase of the Strategic National Stockpile,
  • medical research for COVID-19,
  • and Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers.

State and Local Government Support

State governments that are leading the coronavirus response, which includes New Mexico, will get support from a $150 billion coronavirus expenditures fund.

New Mexico will also be eligible for up to $1.25 billion to reimburse costs resulting from the pandemic.

Tribe and Native Community Funding

The legislation will establish an $8 billion Tribal Government Relief fund that will ensure tribes have direct access to COVID-19 resources for essential government services and economic recovery. This agreement also includes over $2 billion for:

  • Indian Tribes’ emergency supplemental funding,
  • urban Indian health programs,
  • and Native communities, including $1.032 billion for the Indian Health Service.

Protection for National Lab and Federal Contractor Employees

Paid leave will be ensured for contractors at the state’s national labs as well as other federal contractors who can’t perform work on a site that has been approved by the Federal government, including a federally-owned or leased site or facility, resulting from closures or restrictions and who can’t telework.

Support for Creative Economy in New Mexico

The bill includes $150 million in funds for the National Endowment of the Humanities and National Endowments of the Arts to provide grants to local businesses to support the economy when arts and cultural venues were forced to shut down.

Self-employed artists and performers will be able to access unemployment insurance.

Funding for Nutritional Programs for Families

$15.5 billion would go towards additional funding for SNAP that a quarter of New Mexicans rely on, $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs to provide meals to children outside of school, and $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program that supports food banks across the nation.

Halt on Foreclosures, Evictions

The legislation prohibits foreclosures on all federally-backed mortgage loans for 60 days and provides up to 90 days of forbearance for multifamily borrowers with a federally-backed multifamily mortgage loan who are experiencing financial hardship.

Additionally, there is a 120-day moratorium on evictions on any property where a landlord has a federally-backed mortgage

Related Coverage: