Congress Reaches a Virus Deal: What’s In It?

Dec 20, 2020
A deal is reached. Let’s look inside.
After months of bickering, Congress Reaches Final Agreement on Pandemic Relief.

  1. Direct checks are expected to be $600 per adult and $600 per child, with the amounts decreasing for individuals with more than $75,000 in income and $150,000 for couples. Dependents over the age of 16 don’t qualify.
  2. Add $300 to weekly unemployment payments for 11 weeks
  3. Extend two other unemployment programs until they begin phasing out in mid-March and end in early April. Those two programs expand the pool of people eligible for unemployment benefits and extend their duration.
  4. $15 billion for airline payroll support.
  5. Roughly $280 billion would go toward the Paycheck Protection Program.
  6. $325 billion goes toward small businesses.
  7. Theater operators and owners of small performance venues would be eligible for $15 billion in grants.
  8. Schools would receive $82 billion under the agreement, and $10 billion would go toward child care.
  9. The deal would also include $25 billion in rental assistance
  10. Moratorium on evictions extended
  11. $30 billion for the procurement and distribution of a vaccine, as well as testing and tracing.
  12. $1.8 billion in tax credits for businesses to provide paid leave.
  13. Ability for businesses to deduct restaurant meals.
  14. Renewable-energy breaks, including incentives for wind energy and carbon capture, would get temporary extensions.
  15. Extend a tax credit for retaining employees and make it available to PPP recipients.
  16. The remaining funding previously provided to the Treasury Department to backstop losses in Fed lending programs would be revoked, and the Fed wouldn’t be able to replicate identical emergency lending programs next year without congressional approval. The compromise will ensure the Fed and the Biden administration can’t restart the lending programs “by creating a clone and calling it something different,” Senator. Toomey told reporters Sunday.
  17. The final package would also prevent patients from receiving surprise medical bills, including from air ambulance rides. Surprise billing typically occurs when a patient is treated at a hospital in his or her insurance network by a medical professional who isn’t, potentially leading to crippling medical charges.
  18. Pell Grants
  19. $1 billion in federal loan forgiveness for Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  20. Climate change items such as reducing chemicals used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.

What’s Not?

  1. Funding for hard-hit state and local governments, a Democrat priority.
  2. Liability protections for businesses and other entities operating during the pandemic, a GOP priority.

“Once this deal is signed into law, it cannot be the final word on congressional relief,” Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor. “There’s more to do in the new year, with a new administration that has a much more favorable attitude toward giving the American people the help they need.”

Democrats Got Far Less Than They Wanted

Democrats got far less than they wanted, and even much less than what McConnel offered before the election.

Republicans are poised to hold the Senate and have insisted on no state bailouts.

Big Winners

The big political winner is Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. This is the compromise deal he proposed many weeks ago.

Other big winners include those who are working yet receive blanket checks anyway.

Despite months of wrangling, Republicans and Democrats did not come up with a way to target the funds better.

Big Losers

Landlords who have tenants who don’t pay the rent have continued pain until March 1.