What's in the U.S. COVID-19 bill? Unemployment, $600 checks, 'three martini lunch' deduction
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Congress leaders said Sunday they had reached an agreement on a $ 900 billion package to provide the first new aid in months to an economy ravaged by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The vote is expected to take place on Monday.
The package includes, according to a recap published by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate Chairman, as well as interviews with several congressional assistants who provided additional details:
Checks in the Mail: The bill includes new direct payments of $ 166 billion of up to $ 600 per adult per child for individuals earning up to $ 75,000 per year and $ 1,200 for couples who earn up to $ 150,000 a year. The bill extends direct payments to households with mixed status.
More Unemployment Benefit: An additional $ 300 per week for some unemployed beneficiaries with extended coverage for the self-employed, "gig" workers, and others in non-traditional situations.
US Postal Service Grant: Congress agrees to convert a $ 10 billion loan approved in March into direct funding for USPS with no repayment required.
Payroll Loans: $ 284 billion for government payroll loans, including expanded eligibility for nonprofits and newspaper, television and broadcasting companies, $ 15 billion for live venues, independent cinemas and cultural institutions, and $ 20 billion - Dollars for targeted disaster grants
Back-to-School Funding: $ 82 billion for colleges and schools, including heating and cooling system upgrades to reduce virus transmission and reopening classrooms, and $ 10 billion in support of the Childcare. Includes $ 54.3 billion for K-12 schools and $ 22.7 billion for higher education
Childcare: $ 10 billion to provide childcare assistance to families and to help childcare facilities meet costs related to pandemic safety.
Depreciation on business lunches. A new tax break for business lunches called a "three martini" deduction.
End of the surprise medical billing: Insured patients only have to pay in-network costs if an emergency or other problem forces them to consult a medical provider who is not covered by their network.
Aid to Transportation Industry: $ 45 billion in transportation assistance, including $ 15 billion for U.S. passenger airlines for payroll, $ 14 billion for transit systems, $ 10 billion for state highway funding, $ 2 billion - $ 1 billion for airports, $ 1 billion for airline contractors, and $ 1 billion for Amtrak passenger railways.
Rent and Eviction Assistance: $ 25 billion in rental and utility allowances for people struggling to stay in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium through January 31. States will receive at least $ 200 million in assistance.
Vaccine Distribution Aid: $ 30 billion to help procure and distribute the vaccine "to ensure it is distributed to everyone free and quickly," Schumer said.
More on Fighting Hunger: $ 13 billion in food aid, including additional funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs, student access to the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Agricultural Aid: Another $ 13 billion in direct payments, purchases, and loans to farmers and ranchers.
Row crop farmers such as corn, soybeans and wheat would receive an estimated $ 5 billion in additional payments of $ 20 an acre, according to a statement from Senator Debbie Stabenow, senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Record farm subsidies of around $ 50 billion in 2020 were already expected to account for more than a third of US farmers' incomes this year.
Up to $ 3 billion in direct payments to cattle and dairy farmers and contact farmers forced to euthanize cattle or poultry when the COVID-19 crisis closed slaughterhouses, according to Stabenow.
Expanded Pell Grants: New tuition grants that would reach 500,000 new recipients.
Internet Access: $ 7 billion to give more Americans broadband Internet access, including $ 1.9 billion to replace telecommunications network equipment that poses a national security risk and $ 3.2 billion to replace a temporary one A benefit program that gives low-income Americans access to broadband services
Global Virus Alliances: $ 4 billion for an international vaccine alliance
Tax Credits: Improved tax credits to encourage low-income housing, companies keeping employees on payroll, employers providing paid sick leave, and low-income workers.
Minority-Owned Companies: $ 12 billion for minority-owned companies and very small businesses that have had difficulty accessing previous Payroll Protection Program funding.
What's not in the bill: Liability protection for companies whose employees are getting coronavirus, which Republicans have been supporting for months, was not included in the final negotiations or bill. Democrats, in turn, set aside significant resources for state and local governments.
A last-minute attempt by the Republican Party to restrict the Federal Reserve's emergency lending power to small businesses and local governments was also left out.
(Reporting by David Shepardson, David Brunnstrom and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Heather Timmons, Richard Pullin)
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