The United States Congress passed a more than $2-trillion stimulus package at the end of March, commonly referred to as the CARES Act. Although the economic support from that legislation has yet to be distributed to individual Alaskans, the state’s senators expect the benefits to come soon.
Senator Dan Sullivan explains that each state in the country is in financial need due to the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Every senator voted for this. The whole point was to quickly get money into the pockets of Americans, our fellow Alaskans, who need these funds now.”
For Alaskans specifically, most will be getting checks up to $1200 per individual or $2400 per couples, and an additional $500 per child. According to Sullivan the hope is those payments will be distributed within the week.
Besides supporting families, the unemployed, and small businesses, Sullivan says another group will be given a significant amount of funding from the CARES Act.
“Roughly $10-billion for funding for tribes in Alaska and the Lower 48. I know that so many of you, along with your communities and Alaska Native corporations, are stepping up to provide creative solutions to help where you can. I am so proud to represent such innovative and generous Alaskans who are stepping up all over our state.”
Despite the trillions of dollars being provided by the federal government, Senator Lisa Murkowski told Alaska Public Media recently, there are still some gaps this federal legislation has yet to address.
“So what do you do with the student who is 19 years-old? He is out on his own and he has just been faced with a new reality of perhaps trying to find new housing, or he doesn’t have a job going forward. And he’s declared a dependent on his parents’ taxes; they don’t get anything for him because he’s over 16, he doesn’t get anything for himself…”
With those gaps in mind, Congress could continue to tweak the way the federal stimulus package is implemented in the coming weeks.
Murkowski says the CARES Act also gives an opportunity for the federal government to improve infrastructure in rural Alaska.
“Things like building out rural broadband, is certainly key for us. I think building out our water systems…”
Congress is scheduled to reconvene at the Capitol in a couple weeks, but Murkowski believes that might be pushed back due to individual state’s travel bans in and around Washington D.C.
To hear Senator Sullivan’s full address from March 27th, to Alaskans regarding the CARES Act, click the audio file below:
Image at top: Senator Dan Sullivan touring Western Alaska communities. Photo from Kate Wolgemuth, used with permission.