The much-needed emergency coronavirus relief and omnibus package for small businesses, unemployed Americans, and health care workers was passed by the U.S. Congress. Congressional leaders reached a hard-fought agreement after months of stalemate, on Sunday, that would deliver the first of the federal dollar, into the economy since April.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that leadership from both chambers had “finalized an agreement,” saying, “It is packed with targeted policies that help struggling Americans who have already waited entirely too long.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a joint statement, said, “We are going to crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people.”
What’s There in The Relief Package?
The agreement will provide:
- Direct payments worth up to $600 per adult and child, also ensuring that mixed-status families receive payments
- Unemployment insurance benefits at $300 a week for 11 weeks for Americans out of work
- Funding billions of dollars to accelerate the coronavirus vaccine distribution, to implement testing, and contact tracing efforts, and support health care workers and providers
- Bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will end surprise billing for emergency and scheduled care
- Support for struggling small businesses, including over $284 billion for forgivable PPP loans and $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. The agreement also includes $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants
- $25 billion in rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium
- A tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave
- $13 billion in increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and child nutrition benefits
- $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including support for HVAC repair and replacement to help reopen classrooms safely
- $10 billion for child care assistance to help get parents back to work and keep child care providers open
- $7 billion to increase access to broadband, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit to help millions of Americans afford the broadband they need during the pandemic
The package also includes significant deals to promote clean energy, R&D enhancements, efficiency incentives, and extends clean energy tax credits to create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the clean economy.
According to Reuters, President Donald Trump signed a temporary spending bill into law shortly before midnight, to avoid a government shutdown.