After waiting weeks for the passage of a new stimulus bill, it was starting to look like nothing would happen this year. However, a bill has finally passed both houses of Congress. It is a much smaller package than many hoped it would be (only $900 billion). But it still contains features that will help many people.
One major concern was whether or not the new package would include personal checks. The new bill does include them, but they are half the amount the CARES package gave. People that make less than $87,000 each will be eligible to receive $600 per individual and $600 per child.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that checks could start to go out very soon. People that have given their bank account information to the IRS will likely see their money first – probably in early January.
The new stimulus package also includes giving an extra $300 per month to the unemployed. This amount is in addition to the regular unemployment amounts that they will receive from their state government. The money will also continue to be available to the self-employed and gig workers.
Small businesses will again be able to get forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Another $284 billion is going towards the program. Some of the money will be designated to the Minority Depository Institutions, which will help to ensure that more women and minorities can access some of the money this round. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) fund will also receive another $20 billion.
Once again, Congress has extended the eviction moratorium. This time it is only for one month – until the end of January. Local and state governments will receive $25 billion for rental assistance. The money will be for providing assistance for things such as back rent, current rent, utilities, and more.
The new bill also includes $10 billion to assist with childcare. The money is to help parents that have younger children and to help the childcare workers that watch the children.
The earlier CARES package gave $50 billion to the airline industry, which Covid-19 largely shut down. Travel is still greatly limited, and the airlines will receive more help to keep their current employees on the payroll. The new bill adds another $16 billion for their support.
The new stimulus bill had many other political wish lists thrown into it to make parties on both sides happy. Among them, you will find things such as provisions to create a new U.S. consulate in Tibet, $2 billion for the new Space Force, a change from 50% to 100% deductibility of business meals, money for two new museums to be added to Smithsonian – one for women and one for Hispanics, and more. The bill also permits unused funds in a Flexible Spending Account to be carried over into 2021.
Incoming President Joe Biden has stated that he feels that these financial measures are not enough to meet the needs of many Americans. He has stated that he intends to pass a larger bill once he is in office.