Highlights of the new COVID relief deal: Congress will vote on $ 300 unemployment benefit; Direct payment of $ 600 plus PPP
WASHINGTON – House and Senate leaders on Sunday reached a deal on a $ 900 billion COVID-19 relief plan with $ 600 stimulus checks and $ 300 weekly unemployment benefits – but no payment direct to the City of Chicago or the State of Illinois to help cover wages.
The lack of a deal to help cash-strapped local governments – which comes as no surprise at this point – means Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker have tough choices to make when it comes to taxes and layoffs.
After months of negotiations, Congress is expected to approve the measure this week.
If enacted, the $ 900 billion measure will be the second biggest stimulus in the country’s history, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
The most significant was the $ 2.2 trillion federal emergency coronavirus aid, relief and economic security law – known as the CARES law – enacted on March 27.
Highlights of the offer:
Direct payments: The CARES Act provided for payments of $ 1,200 for those who met the income requirements. The new pending plan sends $ 600 in cash to each eligible person, and if the rules are the same as in the CARES Act, that could mean a maximum payout of $ 2,400 for a family of four.
Unemployment benefits: There will be an additional $ 300 per week for people on unemployment insurance until March 14, 2021. The CARES Act provided for additional weekly payments of $ 600 for several months.
“For the 20 million people who would lose their unemployment benefits on Boxing Day, help is on the way,” Schumer said in a Sunday night briefing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Vaccines: According to a legislative summary provided by Schumer and Pelosi, there are “billions” of dollars to provide free vaccines “to as many Americans as possible as quickly as possible.” There is also money for more testing and tracing and “billions earmarked specifically to address the disparities faced by communities of color.”
According to a summary prepared by the House Republican Whip, Representative Steve Scalise, R-La., The deal includes $ 20 billion for the purchase of vaccines and $ 8 billion for the distribution of vaccines. While states do not receive direct money to cover regular operating costs, there will be $ 20 billion to help states cover the costs of testing.
PPP loans: There is $ 284 billion for more paycheck protection program loans. The PPP was created in the CARES Act to give nonprofit businesses and employers a financial lifeline. PPP loans, if used according to the rules, do not have to be repaid. The rules will be revised to make non-profit organizations as well as “local newspapers, television and radio broadcasters” more eligible.
According to Scalise’s summary, the deal “gives companies with severe revenue cuts the opportunity to apply for a second PPP loan.”
Other loans: Money will be set aside so that small financial institutions serving low-income and minority communities – the hardest hit by the pandemic – will have funds to make more loans.
Live shows, cinemas, museums, other cultural institutions: The deal includes $ 15 billion in funding for theaters, independent cinemas and cultural institutions with a “significant” loss of revenue.
Rental assistance: The measure provides for $ 25 billion in rent assistance. The federal moratorium on evictions will be extended until January 31, 2021.
Schools: The deal provides $ 82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including money to make classrooms safer from COVID-19 transmissions with improved ventilation systems.
Childcare: There is $ 10 billion for child care assistance for parents and for child care providers.
Transport: There are $ 45 billion in transportation-related spending, including, according to Scalise analysis: $ 16 billion for another round of payroll support for airline employees and contractors; $ 14 billion for public transit; $ 10 billion for highways; $ 2 billion for intercity buses; $ 2 billion for airports; and $ 1 billion for Amtrak.
Cities and states: Lightfoot and Pritzker and other mayors and governors – Republicans and Democrats – have pleaded with Congress to send more aid to make up for lost revenue and high demands on government services in the wake of COVID-19. The argument, rejected by Republicans, was that if P3 loans could be used to keep paychecks paid to private sector workers, the same assistance should be provided to those employed by state and local governments.
Local governments have obtained money under the CARES Act to pay for the costs associated with fighting the pandemic. Cities and states lost an offer to apply any unused CARES law money to make up for lost revenue. What cities and states got was an extra year to spend the CARES bill money.