$ 900 billion stimulus bill: balance sheet on checks, loans, school, vaccines …

It was a long time coming, but eventually the US Congress approved a stimulus package. help U.S. individuals and businesses cope with the lingering financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress approves back-up plan

Sunday evening, just days before many citizens celebrate Christmas a deal was reached on a $ 900 billion package. It may be less than some wanted, but after protracted negotiations that prevented more relief earlier, a confirmation vote on Monday should mean, in the words of Mitch McConnell, “more help is in. road”.

As Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said, this is another step, but it shouldn’t be the end of government support:

“After weeks of intense negotiations, we have come to an agreement on an emergency package #COVIDrelief. It will bring emergency aid to a nation in the grip of a real emergency. We must make law as soon as possible.

And then we have to do even more under President Biden. “

This last part is especially important given the growing impact of the virus across the country, which you can follow. our daily live blog.

What does the $ 900 billion package look like?

The bill is broad and includes individual payments to needy Americans, unemployment benefits, school initiatives, and funding for the development of a vaccine against covid-19, among other aspects. Based on a summary released by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, along with other reports, here’s what’s included:

Stimulation controls

The bill includes $ 166 billion in new direct payments of up to $ 600 per adult per child, for people earning up to $ 75,000 per year and $ 1,200 for couples earning up to $ 150. $ 000 per year.

This bill extends direct payments to mixed-status households.

Unemployment benefits

$ 300 more per week for some unemployed.

U.S. Postal Service Grant

Congress agrees to convert a $ 10 billion loan approved in March into direct funding for the USPS without requiring repayment.

Payday loans

$ 284 billion for government payroll loans, including expanded eligibility for nonprofits and newspaper, TV and radio broadcasters, $ 15 billion for theaters, theaters independent and cultural institutions and $ 20 billion for targeted disaster grants

Funding of the “back to school”

$ 82 billion for colleges and schools, including upgrades to heating and cooling systems to mitigate transmission of the virus and reopen classrooms, and $ 10 billion for aid child care. Includes $ 54.3 billion for K-12 schools and $ 22.7 billion for higher education.

Depreciation of business meals

New tax relief for business meal expenses, dubbed the “three martinis” deduction.

End of surprise medical billing

Insured patients only need to pay network charges when an emergency or other problem requires them to call a medical provider who is not covered by their network.

Aid to the transport industry

$ 45 billion for transportation assistance, including $ 15 billion for US airlines for wage assistance, $ 14 billion for public transportation systems, $ 10 billion for funding national highways, $ 2 billion for airports, $ 1 billion for airlines and $ 1 billion for the Amtrak passenger railroad.

Rent and eviction assistance

$ 25 billion to help pay rent and utilities for people struggling to stay at home, and an extension of the moratorium on evictions until January 31. States will receive aid of at least $ 200 million.

Help with vaccine distribution

$ 30 billion to support the purchase and distribution of the vaccine, “making sure it is free and quickly distributed to everyone,” as Schumer said.

More to fight hunger

$ 13 billion for food aid, including additional funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs, student access to the federal government’s supplemental nutrition assistance program.

Agricultural aid

An additional $ 13 billion for direct payments, purchases and loans to farmers and ranchers.

Extended Pell Grants

New grants for college tuition, which would reach 500,000 new beneficiaries.

Internet access

$ 7 billion to give more Americans high-speed Internet access, including $ 1.9 billion to replace telecommunications network equipment that poses national security risks and $ 3.2 billion for a new temporary benefit program to help low-income Americans access broadband service

Global alliances against viruses

$ 4 billion for an international vaccine alliance.

Tax credits

Improved tax credits to encourage housing construction for low-income people, businesses to keep their employees on the payroll, employers to provide paid sick leave, and for low-income workers

Minority-owned businesses

$ 12 billion for very small minority-owned businesses that struggled to access previous payroll protection program funding.

What is not included in the relief bill?

Obviously, the above list is quite comprehensive, but there were a few key things not included in the bill.

Liability protection of companies whose employees contract the coronavirus, which Republicans have argued for months, was not included in final negotiations or the bill; Democrats have set aside significant funds for state and local governments in return.

A last minute attempt by the Republican Party at limit the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending power small businesses and local governments has also been left out.

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