NASHVILLE, TN – Nearly $5 billion in economic relief have been paid to counteract the economic impact from the novel coronavirus pandemic in Davidson, Dickson, and Cheatham counties.

“It was critical to keeping Middle Tennesseans afloat and avoiding another Depression,” U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper said Monday. The largest share of that $5 billion — $1.2 billion — was paid directly to Metro-area residents in $1,200 checks, or as extra federal unemployment benefits at $600 per week in addition to state unemployment benefits.

The entire $2.5 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of Congress became law on March 27.

“Now, Congress must pass the HEROES Act immediately, or something very close, in order to stave off the August crisis we will otherwise be facing,” Cooper said of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act.

Without Senate and presidential action, CARES Act funding ends soon.

Cooper’s office explained that the extraordinary individual benefits are set to expire on July 31, unless Congress extends the benefits. The House of Representatives has already voted to extend these benefits until Dec. 31 in the HEROES Act, but the Senate has failed to act.

“In short,” Cooper said, “we are about to face the most predictable and preventable crisis in U.S. history because we know that with 30 million Americans unemployed, and the vast majority of Americans hurt by COVID-19 shutdowns, people will be in desperate need of help in August.”

The eviction moratorium expires Saturday, July 25. Landlords will be permitted to evict those who have not been able to pay their rent since March. Tennesseans who want extension of the relief package, may call U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn.

“They hold the key to more aid in the coming weeks and months,” Cooper said.

CARES Act payments are largely unprecedented in American history and they were designed to avert another deep recession like 2008 or a Great Depression like 1933, Tennessee’s 5th District congressman said. In addition to the $1.2 billion in individual benefits, another $650 million went to organizations in and around Nashville. Major categories of recipients include health providers, hospitals, nonprofits, schools and universities.