After nine months of negotiations failing to produce a second Coronavirus relief package, Congressional leaders have finally reached a deal. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R), praised the long-awaited “bipartisan breakthrough,” saying the bill’s text must be finalized and, barring any “last-minute obstacles,” pass the House and Senate before President Trump can sign it into law.
The agreement avoids a partial government shutdown that required Congress to pass a one-day extension of government funding that gave lawmakers an additional 24 hours to review the deal.
Far From Perfect
While providing much-needed emergency relief to Americans, some Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, called the package far from perfect. Speaking from the Senate floor, he vowed to push for another COVID-19 stimulus package in the New Year.
Stimulus Package Highlights
The new stimulus deal will establish a temporary $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit (half of what was provided in March under the CARES Act) for the next ten weeks and $600 direct payments to most Americans (half of the $1,200 checks approved in the spring), with $600 included for dependents.
The bill, which also funds the government through Sept. 30 and includes:
- $25 billion for direct rental assistance
- The extension of an eviction moratorium
- The extension of the PPP small business lending program and eligibility expansion
- $15 billion in grants for live venues
- $82 billion in education funding
- $30 billion for procurement and distribution of the vaccine
- A tax credit for paid sick leave
- An end to surprise medical billing
Checks are expected to go out within two weeks and arrive quicker for those with banking data on file with the IRS for direct, electronic deposits.