Signed, sealed and on the way: Congress passes $900 billion COVID-19 package
It was long coming, but additional COVID-19 relief is on the way. In late December, Congress passed a $900 billion package to deliver much-needed financial relief to businesses and individuals, and fund resources to battle the coronavirus.
The bill established a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, which began arriving in accounts this month. The legislation also includes a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants and theatres.
Weighing in at 5,593 pages, it’s difficult to summarize all the bill covers. Here’s an overview of some of the most important pieces of the legislation. Big thanks to Congressman Derek Kilmer and other members of the Washington Congressional delegation who were at the forefront of negotiating the package.
PPP business loan program expanded:
- Billions have been added to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. Entities that received either loan in the first round are eligible to apply again
- PPP applicants can apply (and have loans forgiven) for higher amounts as the range of eligible expenses has been expanded
- Economic development organizations [501(c)(6)] and DMOs qualify for PPP loans
- Forgiven PPP loans (grants) are not counted as taxable income
- Forgiveness has been streamlined for PPP Loans under $150k
Other business tax relief:
- $15 billion in grants for independent live venues
- Business tax/credit extended through March 2021 (payroll tax, sick and family leave)
- Increased fee schedule proposed for physicians (more federal funding for public payers)
- $10B allocated for childcare (to help replace parent copay, fund technical training)
- Key unemployment benefits extended to March 14 and or 21, 2021 (with total eligibility expanded from 39 to 50 weeks)
- IRS tax credits extended for 2020 returns ($1,200 for joint filers under $150k annual income)
The bill also delivers $69 billion for COVID-19 vaccines, testing and health providers; $82 billion for public K-12 schools, colleges and universities affected by the pandemic; and $61 billion for rental assistance, food/farm aid and childcare. A summary of the bill offers a division-by-division breakdown.
“This bill is not perfect, but it does make a down payment on giving our communities what they need to beat back this virus,” said Mark Costello, Seattle District Office Deputy District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “This is important support for families and local employers.”