Schatz explains benefits Hawaii residents can expect under the new COVID relief package

Updated: Mar. 7, 2021 at 10:45 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sen. Brian Schatz voted to pass a new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Saturday that includes at least $6.1 billion in estimated funding for Hawaii.

“Billions of dollars are coming to Hawaii to help families and small businesses. This new package will deliver immediate help to people who have lost their job or can’t make their rent. It provides funding for schools and health care and will give our state more resources to get people vaccinated,” said Schatz.

The COVID-19 relief package also includes funding for state and local governments to cover budget shortfalls and to prevent furloughs.

Hawaii senators also secured over $100 million for Native Hawaiian health, housing and education programs.

“Native Hawaiian education programs alone got $85 million. So we’re really thrilled, you know, lots of bills,” said Schatz.

Funds also include at least $1.7 billion in direct cash payments for Hawaii residents. This is part of the $1,400 stimulus checks that will be distributed to a majority of households. Additional tax credits will also be distributed for children.

“There’s going to be a fair amount of relief coming. The exact date of the check arrival or the transfer payment from the IRS, you know, we’ll have better clarity on that next week,” said Schatz. “But, help is on the way for vaccines and money to prevent people from getting foreclosed upon.”

The breakdown of the funding for Hawaii are as follows:

  • State and local budgets: $2.2 billion
  • Unemployment Assistance: $575 million
  • Rent and mortgage relief: $226.5 million
  • Health care systems: $150 million
  • Hawaii schools: $634 million

Federal funding will also cover transportation costs and infrastructure, utility bill assistance and other welfare programs.

“Usually, you have to sort of weigh out what’s good and what’s bad inside of a big piece of legislation like this and then make a choice. This feels a little different. I like probably 95% of it. It’s really a good piece of legislation that is going to allow us to crush the virus and get our economy and our society back,” Schatz said.

The bill is expected to pass in the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the president in the coming days.

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