Congress agrees on Covid relief bill with $600 stimulus checks

Congress is about to go one of many largest stimulus packages within the nation's historical past, which can ship much-needed assist to struggling households and small companies throughout the nation because the nation continues to grapple with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The practically $1 trillion Covid-19 relief bill will embody a second stimulus examine of as much as $600 for a lot of Americans, an additional $300 in enhanced unemployment insurance coverage for 11 weeks, the continuation of key jobless packages and funding for meals and rental help, amongst different provisions, lawmakers introduced Sunday evening.

The deal comes after months of tense negotiations between Congressional Republicans and Democrats and simply days earlier than an estimated 12 million folks have been set to be reduce off from jobless assist altogether. Many lawmakers acknowledged that the bill is just not be sufficient to assist all the Americans who’ve suffered this 12 months.

"Our economy is in a deep, deep, deep hole," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) mentioned on the Senate flooring Sunday evening. "A lot more needs to be done."

The assist, together with the unemployment advantages and stimulus checks, may take weeks to succeed in the individuals who desperately want it. It's additionally too little, too late for a lot of who’ve foregone typical vacation celebrations that they can not afford this 12 months.

Congress is predicted to vote on the bill on Monday. Lawmakers are additionally nonetheless debating a second stimulus bill that features legal responsibility protections for companies and funding for states and native governments.

Here are a few of the greatest provisions included within the new relief bill:

Unemployment insurance coverage

One of the biggest provisions within the bill is funds for enhanced unemployment insurance coverage (UI). Those accessing jobless advantages by means of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the long-term unemployed accessing Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation advantages now qualify for 11 further weeks of funds by means of March 14, 2021, for a complete of fifty weeks.

It additionally gives enhanced federal jobless advantages of $300 per week for 11 weeks, by means of March 14, 2021. This is half of the additional $600 per week unemployed employees acquired at the beginning of the pandemic underneath the CARES Act and resulted in late July.

The bill gives an additional $100 per week for employees who "have both wage and self-employment income but whose base UI benefit calculation doesn't take their self-employment into account," in response to a abstract of the UI provisions.

It will take weeks for folks to see the improved funds of their checks. In the meantime, thousands and thousands of out-of-work Americans will probably expertise a lapse in unemployment advantages for at the very least just a few weeks. And keep in mind: UI advantages are taxable.

Small enterprise loans

The bill additionally consists of $248 billion for one more spherical of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small companies, $12 billion of which is earmarked for minority-owned companies and $15 billion of which can go to reside venues, impartial film theaters and cultural establishments.

It additionally expands PPP eligibility to incorporate nonprofits and native newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters.

Stimulus checks

Though one other spherical of direct funds was not a part of the unique bipartisan draft, stress from lawmakers together with Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (MO) reportedly tipped the scales for his or her inclusion.

The bill consists of $600 checks for particular person tax payers incomes underneath $75,000 per 12 months and their baby dependents, half of the $1,200 funds distributed through the CARES Act. There won’t be a cap on the quantity {that a} single family can obtain.

Hawley mentioned on the Senate flooring Sunday evening that he was pleased the funds are included, however known as them "only a step" in the best route, noting that $600 is simply "a fraction of what was offered to working people in the CARES legislation just a few months ago."

Though continued unemployment insurance coverage is extra useful in the long run, economists say that checks will get much-needed cash into the palms of the financially-strapped extra shortly.

Rental relief

The bill gives $25 billion in rental relief, which can be utilized for future lease and utility funds in addition to for any again lease owed or utility payments that haven’t been paid for the reason that starting of the pandemic. It additionally extends the nationwide eviction moratorium by means of January 31, 2021.

"It's not enough, but it's urgently and desperately needed," says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), noting that low-income renters at present owe an estimated $30 to $70 billion in again lease.

Yentel hopes President-elect Joe Biden will make extra emergency rental help a precedence when he takes workplace in January. The assist within the bill is "postponing, not preventing evictions," says Yentel. "Rent is still due, and renters are still accruing more debt than they can possibly pay off in their lifetimes."

Food help

The bill additionally addresses America's worsening starvation disaster, offering $13 billion in elevated SNAP funding.

What's not included within the bill

The latest model of the bill doesn’t embody assist for state and native governments, desired by Democrats, nor legal responsibility protections for companies, which Republicans demanded in earlier rounds of negotiations. The bipartisan crew drafted a separate bill for these two provisions.

The bill additionally doesn’t embody checks for grownup dependents or hazard pay for important employees.

Check out: 

  • Americans name slimmed down $600 stimulus checks a 'shame' however higher than nothing
  • Millions will lose jobless advantages quickly even when Congress reaches stimulus deal
  • 'I've by no means been so broke in my life:' Cash-strapped Americans grapple with Covid at Christmastime

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