A Breakdown of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

Published: March 17, 2020

Federal Market AnalysisUSAIDCoronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicHHSHealth CarePolicy and LegislationSBASTATE

The bill provides $8.3B in emergency funding for agencies in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Key Takeaways

  • The legislation provides supplemental emergency funding relief to federal agencies, primarily at HHS, as well as SBA, State and USAID.
  • Emergency dollars target the pursuit and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and medical supplies related to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Funding also centers on economic relief for state, local and tribal governments, international organizations and small businesses.
  • Contractors can expect to see opportunities resulting from the supplemental emergency funding, utilizing existing procurements methods, such as GWACs and OTAs, for quick and efficient delivery of needed goods and services.

Seeking to pump federal agencies with funds to mitigate and combat the coronavirus pandemic, Public Law 115-123 – the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act made its way through legislative channels within four days and was enacted on March 6th. Designated as supplemental appropriations to agencies, funds under the bill are exempt from discretionary spending caps.

HHS claims nearly 75% of the funds under the emergency spending bill, with additional dollars dedicated to other agencies for international, economic and small business assistance:

Department of Health and Human Services

  • $3.1B to the Office of the Secretary until September 30, 2024 to prioritize technologies and U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities in the pursuit and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and medical supplies in relation to coronavirus
  • $2.2B to the CDC until September 30, 2022 to respond to coronavirus domestically and internationally, including grants for construction or alteration of non-Federal owned buildings to improve preparedness and response
    • $950M provided as grants or cooperative agreements to state, local and tribal governments, $475M of which is to be allotted within 30 days of enactment
    • $300M for global disease detection and emergency response
    • $300M transferred to the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund
  • $61M to the FDA for the development and advanced manufacturing of medical products and vaccines to response to coronavirus
  • $836M to the NIH, in particular the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, until September 30, 2024, including $10M to train health and medical staff in the prevention and reduced exposure of coronavirus through work duties

Department of State

  • $264M until September 30, 2022 towards necessary expenses related to maintaining consular operations, conducting evacuations and emergency preparedness

Small Business Administration

  • $20M made available under the “Disaster Loans Program Account” to enhance economic injury disaster loans for small businesses

United States Agency for International Development 

  • $1M until September 30, 2022 to the Office of Inspector General for oversight of coronavirus activities

Bilateral Economic Assistance 

  • $435M until September 30, 2022, administered by USAID that be contributed to international organizations in relation to coronavirus, with no less than $200M designated under the Emergency Reserve Fund
  • $300M in international disaster assistance in response to the coronavirus outbreak
  • $250M until September 30, 2022 towards the Economic Support Fund to address economic, security and stabilization requirements

Additional provisions under the legislation include:

  • Reimbursement of expenses already encountered by HHS in response to the coronavirus
  • Reimbursement of expenses for “surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities expended by States, localities, territories, tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes”
  • Expense plans, particularly by the HHS Office of the Secretary, must be submitted to Congressional appropriations committees no later than 30 days, and 60 days thereafter, of the law’s enactment. Expense plans must include data on contract obligations greater than $5M
  • Removal of restrictions to Medicare providers in offering telehealth services to beneficiaries, regardless of location

Contractor Implications

  • Expect spending by aforementioned federal agencies to take place in the immediate future, as the legislation requires the expenditure of all funds within FY 2020, unless otherwise noted.
  • Funding under the legislation can be used towards personal services contracts, subject to appropriation committee approval.
  • While much of the funding under the legislation is slated for grants and cooperative agreements at the state, local and tribal level, federal expenditures will likely take place using quick and easy acquisition methods such as GWACs, agency MACs and OTAs (Note: HHS has OTA authority).
  • With the priorities focused on emergency acquisitions related to the coronavirus, such as those anticipated under this bill, expect other, forthcoming procurements to face schedule delays.