The $900 billion stimulus package is trimmed down from from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress in March. It has funds for small business loans, schools, rental assistance that comes with an extension of the eviction moratorium, and direct aid. Its final passage is expected today.
$166 billion will go directly into Americans’ wallets. Direct payments are up to $600 for individuals and for each child dependent, and decreases for those with higher incomes. The last stimulus check cutoff started at $75,000 income per individual and was not available to those earning $99,000 or more, or $198,000 for joint filers. This one will be similarly structured.
In some parts of the country, that $600 will stretch further. In Alaska, that’s enough to help get someone through about a week. The stimulus is worth double to those living in cheaper parts of the country, while Alaska, New York City, and Seattle are somewhat penalized.
$120 billion is set aside for extra unemployment payments. With more than 19 million Americans receiving unemployment checks, about 13 million would lose benefits starting this Saturday, when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation expire. The new stimulus extends both, with $300 weekly extra benefits for up to 11 weeks. It also expands unemployment benefits to gig workers and self-employed workers. Some workers will qualify for 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits.
$25 billion is for rental assistance, with $800 million carved out for Native American housing agencies. The federal eviction ban was extended until the end of January.
SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
The stimulus package has $325 billion for small business loans. That includes $284 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which must be used for support of workers and to prevent layoffs, $20 billion for businesses located in low-income areas, and $15 billion for live entertainment businesses, festivals, movie theaters, and places like museums.
Businesses will be able to deduct at least some of their forgiven PPP loans. To support restaurants and get diners back in them, the measure has a two-year tax break for business meals.
MONEY FOR STATES
The package has a $4 billion “governors’ relief fund,” $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion for airports, $82 billion for colleges and universities, $54 billion for public K-12 schools, and $23 billion for a higher education fund. There are no funds directly for cities.
$45 billion will go to help airlines make payroll, and there is support for mass transit, and Amtrak. ($15 billion will help airlines maintain their payrolls.)
$69 billion is set aside for vaccines, testing, tracing, and COVID-19 mitigation, which includes $20 billion for purchasing vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the two vaccine makers that have received FDA approval.
A 3 percent raise for members of the military is included.