Of the $5.2 trillion that the U.S. government has committed to the response to the pandemic since early 2020, about one-sixth went to state governments for the public health emergency and to boost their economic recovery. Across the six pieces of COVID-19 legislation passed so far, the federal government has allotted more than $800 billion in grants to states.
Two of the funding vehicles—the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF)—together make up almost 40% of this funding, with separate but significant investments in programs for K-12 education, rental assistance, and public health.
Legislation in response to the pandemic spanned administrations and provided aid to states in numerous ways, including funding for new programs and for existing ones that, like Medicaid, often get a boost during economic downturns. Although dollars went to support programs in each major area of budgeting, flexible pots of money in the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund—which together totaled $307 billion for states—were the largest category of funding going to states.