A two-year biennial operating budget is adopted every odd-numbered year. Supplemental budgets frequently are enacted in each of the following two years after adoption of the biennial budget. Appropriations are made in the biennial and supplemental budgets for the operation of state government and its various agencies and institutions, including higher education, as well as allocations for the funding of K-12 public schools. Occasionally appropriations are made outside the supplemental and biennial budgets for limited purposes such as funding for a specific policy bill or to address a specific matter.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. The first reported occurrence of COVID-19 in the United States was in January 2020. The federal Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was enacted on March 6, 2020, and several COVID-19 related federal appropriations acts have occurred since then.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted on March 27, 2020. The CARES act included the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). The CRF provided approximately $3 billion for Washington state and local government expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Funding received directly by the state was authorized for expenditure through the statutory unanticipated receipt process (the Legislature was not in session when the federal funding was received).
Under the original terms of the CARES Act, to be eligible for CRF, costs had to be incurred by December 30, 2020. The federal Consolidated Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act was signed into law on December 27, 2020. Among other things, the CRRSA extended the CRF deadline from December 30, 2020, to December 31, 2021, and provided additional funding to Washington to help address the impacts of COVID-19.
The bill appropriates $2.2 billion in federal funding from a combination of the federal Consolidated Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the federal CARES Act, and Medicaid for K-12 public schools, public health, healthcare, assistance to individuals and families, housing assistance, and business assistance.