WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) and Madeleine Dean (PA-04) introduced the Coronavirus Relief Fund Expansion Act.
This act will extend the deadline to spend COVID-19 relief funds by one year to Dec. 31, 2021. Additionally, this bill will allow non-profit and emergency service organizations the ability to use funds to replace lost, delayed or decreased revenues as a result of the global pandemic.
Emergency service organizations, including volunteer fire departments, have struggled to maintain operations during these unprecedented times. Volunteer fire departments rely heavily on fundraising activities to support their mission.
Due to COVID-19, most of these organizations were forced to cancel in-person community events, which has resulted in significant losses.
“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been hardest on organizations that already operate on razor thin margins,” said Thompson.
“Congress created a relief fund, which has yet to be exhausted. As a volunteer fire fighter, I know we must act immediately to provide more flexibility and extend these deadlines, otherwise volunteer organizations and non-profits will be left out in the cold.”
“Emergency services are hurting from the economic side effects of the pandemic. It’s import that we extend the deadline for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) through Dec. 31, 2021 and allow emergency services—like Volunteer Fire Departments—to access these relief funds,” Dean said.
“It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s economically smart and allows our emergency services to continue to serve the people.”
“First responders across the nation have been concerned that the current language in the CARES Act is very ambiguous. We are worried fire and EMS departments have not and will not utilize these funds because of a lack of detail on how this financial assistance may be legally expended by our agencies,” said Jerry Brant, Second Assistant Chief of the Patton Fire Company No. 1 and Board Member of the Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute.
“This legislation would simplify this section of the CARES Act and alleviate these concerns. We applaud Congressman Thompson for his efforts and plead with other members of Congress to join him in passing this critical legislation.”