The $ 900 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress this week is supposed to meet the needs of millions of Americans who have resisted the effects of the coronavirus pandemic for months, even as numerous federal programs have help have been reduced or expired.
The full text of the bill was almost 5,600 pages long. Here’s a look at what’s included.
Direct payment is one of the most anticipated elements of the law, with $ 600 earmarked for adults whose adjusted gross income can reach $ 75,000 per year based on earnings in 2019. Household heads earning up to $ 112,500 and a couple (or someone whose spouse died in 2020) earning up to $ 150,000 per year would receive double that amount.
Eligible families with dependent children would receive an additional $ 600 per child.
In a change from the last round, payments will not be denied to citizens married to someone without a social security number, allowing some spouses of undocumented immigrants to claim the benefit this time around.
On Tuesday evening, President Trump threatened to veto the bill because he said the payments were too low. He advocates payments of $ 2,000. House Democrats are scheduled to introduce an amendment to the bill on Thursday, an aide familiar with the proposal said. We do not know how the House and the Senate will act.
With up to 12 million Americans facing the prospect of losing federal unemployment assistance on Dec. 26, Congress has acted to expand several programs, albeit at less generous levels than in the spring.
The deal would relaunch enhanced federal jobless benefits for 11 weeks, providing a lifeline for hard-hit workers until March 14. The new benefit, up to $ 300 per week, is half of the amount provided by the CARES Act in the spring.
The legislation also extends pandemic unemployment assistance – a program aimed at a wide range of freelancers and independent contractors – for the same period, providing an additional $ 100 per week.
Targeted support for small businesses
The deal sets aside $ 285 billion for additional loans to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program, renewing the program created under the CARES Act.
The latest version includes stricter terms that seem intended to correct some of the unpopular elements of the original program. It caps loans at $ 2 million and makes them available only to borrowers with fewer than 300 employees who have seen at least 25% decline in sales from a year earlier for at least one quarter. The deal also sets aside $ 12 billion specifically for minority-owned businesses. And publicly traded companies won’t be able to apply this time around.
Funding of vaccines and nursing homes
The legislation provides nearly $ 70 billion for a range of public health measures, including $ 20 billion for the purchase of vaccines, $ 8 billion for vaccine distribution and an additional $ 20 billion to help states continue their testing and traceability programs.
The bill also allows a federal program that insures mortgages for nursing homes to provide emergency loans to help hard-hit senior care centers.
Support for climate measures
In an unusual rebuke of the Trump administration’s climate policy, the deal includes new legislation to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, the potent greenhouse gases common in air conditioners and refrigerators.
It also allocates $ 35 billion to finance wind, solar and other clean energy projects.
A ban on surprise medical bills
The bill will ban hospitals from charging patients for services such as emergency treatment by off-grid doctors or air ambulance transport, over which patients often have no say.
The compromise would protect tenants struggling with rent by extending a moratorium on evictions by one month, until January 31. . It runs until February 28.
The bill also provides for housing assistance of $ 25 billion.
Expanding one of the most trusted aid channels, the deal increases monthly food stamp benefits – officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – by 15% for six months, to as of January 1.
Broadband infrastructure financing
The legislation provides $ 7 billion to expand access to high-speed Internet connections, nearly half of which will be used to cover the cost of monthly Internet bills by providing up to $ 50 per month to low-income families.
The deal also provides $ 300 million for infrastructure construction in underserved rural areas and $ 1 billion in grants for tribal broadband programs.