Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released the following statement regarding the recently passed COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress:
“I am pleased that Congress was able to reach an agreement and pass a $900 billion pandemic aid package that includes direct payments, jobless benefits, funds for businesses and vaccine distribution – which will benefit thousands of Howard County residents.
On behalf of the residents of Howard County, we thank our Congressional Delegation, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Representatives Sarbanes, Mfume, and Ruppersberger, who worked tirelessly to pass this aid package. Their dedication and vigilance over months of negotiations has provided much needed relief for our most vulnerable residents who have depleted their savings and are concerned with how to pay their bills, rents, and mortgages while putting food on their tables.
While we are pleased that this bill extended the deadline for incurring federal CARES Act funding, we are disappointed that additional relief to states and local governments was not included despite the efforts of our Congressional members to include those funds in this stimulus package. State and local governments have been the social safety net for millions of Americans by providing food, subsidies for bills, and enacting moratoriums to protect our residents from being displaced and homeless.
These efforts, including what the Howard County Government has provided to our residents, cost millions of dollars. With tax revenues likely to also be impacted by the pandemic, state and local governments needed this relief from the federal governments in order for us to balance our budgets without burdening our residents with potential higher taxes or reduction in services during a time when neither can be afforded.
I am hopeful that the passage of this bill marks the beginning of relief for our residents and not the end. With a new Congress and Presidential administration beginning next month while the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out to the public, I am optimistic that a new page of bi-partisan collaboration can occur, and our nation can continue to rebound from the devastating health and economic impacts of this pandemic.
By working together, our nation, our state, and our county will rise together once again.”
A little more about the relief bill:
“The agreement includes stimulus checks of up to $600 per person for individuals earning $75,000 per year and married couples who earn up to $150,000, with $600 more for each dependent under 18 living in the same household.” (Learn More)