PA to see $5 billion in federal funding from Congress-passed stimulus plan to combat coronavirus

Written by on March 27, 2020

PA to see $5 billion in federal funding from Congress-passed stimulus plan to combat coronavirus

By Jen Rehill

March 27, 2020

The U.S. Capitol. Liam James Doyle/NPR

Pennsylvania will see approximately $5 billion dollars in federal funding for coronavirus-related expenses and programming from the $2-trillion dollar stimulus plan passed by Congress today. That’s according to Lehigh Valley U.S, Rep. Susan Wild.

WLVR News Director Jen Rehill spoke with the congresswoman immediately following her vote on the House floor. Wild says the measure isn’t perfect – but will go a long way to support the Lehigh Valley during the pandemic. 

“This historic legislation directly helps the hospitals in our district, the two world-class hospital networks, small businesses and workers and seniors and people who literally live paycheck to paycheck.”

In addition to expanded unemployment benefits and direct payments to low and middle-income families, the package includes funding for public transportation, childcare, and housing for the homeless, and personal protective equipment for health care workers. 

Wild says she’s in daily contact with the leaders at Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, and that the hospitals need more supplies for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases.

“They all need more masks, they need more gowns, they need gloves and they need more ventilators, ” said Wild.

Wild says she’s working with hospitals to procure supplies despite what she calls price gouging by suppliers. 

Meanwhile, she’s laser-focused on efforts to limit the virus spread in the Lehigh Valley. She says she thinks the governor’s stay at home orders for 19 counties should be extended to the whole state. And she says bus lines still running from New York City to the region should be halted now – to prevent further influx of cases.

As for the new federal funding, how quickly the money will get to the Lehigh Valley remains to be seen. Wild says “that’s the question of the hour.” She says Pennsylvania could start to see some of those funds as early as next week.


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