Congress Passes Additional Stimulus Legislation

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA2021), which includes $892 billion in coronavirus stimulus spending, and now looks for the President's signature. This long-awaited and highly contested piece of legislation ties coronavirus relief funding into a $1.4 trillion resolution for funding the federal government through September of next year. The nearly $900 billion in stimulus funds comprises a variety of measures, including a renewal of enhanced unemployment benefits, an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, and another round of individual stimulus payments. Read on for a breakdown of the various COVID-19 stimulus measures included in CAA2021.

INDIVIDUAL MEASURES

Unemployment Benefits
Portion of the stimulus package: $120 billion
An extension of federal unemployment supplemental benefits through March 14, 2021 at a rate of $300 per week. Additionally, it legislates an extension of two pandemic unemployment programs set to expire at the end of December, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which has been expanded to provide aid to self-employed, temporary, and gig workers, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond the typical 26 weeks that states provide to jobless workers.

Extension of Eviction Moratorium & Rental Assistance
Portion of the stimulus package: $25 billion
A temporary extension of the federal eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021 and $25 billion in emergency rental assistance.

Economic Impact Payments
Portion of the stimulus package: $166 billion
Direct payments of $600 for qualifying adults and their child dependents. Individuals earning up to $75,000 annually (or married couples making up to $150,000) qualify for the full payment; individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 qualify for a reduced payment; individuals earning more than $99,000 do not qualify.

Food Aid
Portion of the stimulus package: $13 billion
Additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and a benefits increase of 15% to last for six months.

BUSINESS MEASURES

Paycheck Protection Program Extension (PPP2)
Portion of the stimulus package: $284 billion
CAA2021 provides an additional round of funding for the PPP and expands eligibility to include 501(c)(6) nonprofits, local newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations. Additionally, it ensures the tax deductibility of business expenses paid with loan funds that are forgiven, a measure that has been widely called for by loan recipients and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). For further details on PPP2, click below.

Support for Entertainment Venues
Portion of the stimulus package: $15 billion
Funds for struggling live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.

Support for Business in Low-income Communities
Portion of the stimulus package: $12 billion
Funds earmarked for businesses in low-income and minority communities.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants
Portion of the stimulus package: $20 billion
Additional funds to be administered through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, dedicated to businesses in low-income communities.

Support for Child Care Centers
Portion of the stimulus package: $10 billion
Aid money to help child care centers safely reopen and to support families with child care costs. The money is to be administered via the Child Care Development Block Grant.

Aid to Transportation Sector
Portion of the stimulus package: $45 billion
A variety of transportation-related assistance that includes $16 billion for airlines (for paying the salaries of workers and contractors), $14 billion for mass transit agencies, $10 billion for highways, and $1 billion for Amtrak.

ADDITIONAL MEASURES

Support for Education Institutions
Portion of the stimulus package: $82 billion
This money is designated to help schools and universities reopen. The funds are earmarked as follows: $54 billion for public K-12 schools, $23 billion for colleges and universities, $4 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund, $2.75 billion for private K-12 education, and nearly $1 billion for Native American schools.

Funding for Vaccine Distribution and Coronavirus Testing
Portion of the stimulus package: $68 billion
CAA2021 includes money for both supporting the distribution of coronavirus vaccinations and for helping to pay for costs associated with COVID-19 testing. $30 billion is directed for the procurement of vaccines and treatments, the funding of distribution for states, and the creation of a strategic stockpile. $22 billion is earmarked for testing, tracing, and mitigation. Of the remaining funds, $9 billions will go to healthcare providers and $4.5 is earmarked for mental health.

Increased Broadband Access
Portion of the stimulus package: $7 billion
Funding for broadband initiatives to support better connectivity and infrastructure. $3.2 billion is earmarked for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides low-income families and individuals laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic with a monthly stipend of $50 to pay for internet services. $1.9 billion is dedicated to financing “rip and replace” projects—the removal and replacement of Huawei and ZTE networking equipment. $1 billion will go to Tribal broadband programs and $300 billions is dedicated to rural broadband deployment.

Farm Aid
Portion of the stimulus package: $13 billion
Funding for farmers and ranchers.

Postal Service
Portion of the stimulus package: $10 billion
CAA2021 includes the forgiveness of a $10 billion loan made to the United States Postal Service earlier this year.

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

A number of provisions that were initially included in proposed coronavirus stimulus legislation were, ultimately, left out of the bill. These include protection for businesses against litigation regarding COVID-19 exposure, financial aid to state and local governments, and an extension of federal student loan forbearance.

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