Yesterday, Congressional leaders and Lawmakers reached a nearly $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus deal, including another round of stimulus checks and jobless benefits. After months and months of standoff, Washington has come to agreement just before Christmas where almost 12 million people are set to lose unemployment benefits. The new deal includes $300 to the federal unemployment insurance benefit, extending eviction moratoriums for renters for an unspecified amount of time and $600 direct payment to most Americans.
Last-minute negotiations provided a second stimulus check, after the uncertainty of whether another round of direct checks would be included. In addition, dependent children will also receive the same $600 checks as adults. This is a $100 increase compared to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in the spring. The payments would begin phasing out at incomes exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 for couples filing jointly) up to $99,000 ($198,000 for couples). Couples where one spouse is not a citizen will be eligible for funding.
As for unemployment benefits, they will be extended by an additional 11 weeks. Unemployment aid, jobless workers will receive their regular state unemployment payments, plus $300 on top of that through March 14, 2021. This is $300 less compared to the CARES act.
The Paycheck Protection Program will be extended with another $284 billion of forgivable loans. Some of the funding will be set aside for very small businesses through lenders such as Minority Depository Institutions, following criticisms that the first round of PPP loans overlooked many minority- and woman-owned businesses. $20 billion will be set aside for businesses in low-income communities and another $15 billion will be for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.