URGENT BIZ TEAM ALERT: COVID Relief Bill Passes; On Way to POTUS
Dec 22, 2020
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce (KC Chamber) applauds Congress for its bipartisan and bicameral work to pass another desperately needed COVID-19 relief and stimulus bill. Last night, Congress approved of $900 billion in COVID relief, which was combined with the $1.4 trillion Omnibus that will fund the Federal Government through September 2021. Below is a summary of the major relief parts of the stimulus bill (all numbers approximate):
- Individual Stimulus Checks ($166B): This bill includes one-time payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each child dependent.
- Unemployment Insurance ($120B): This provides an additional $300 per week in enhanced federal unemployment insurance for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, through March 14, 2021. This bill also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others in nontraditional employment, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits. Additionally, the bill increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through regular state unemployment plus the PEUC program, or through the PUA program, to 50 weeks. The bill also provides an extra benefit of $100 per week for certain workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose base UI benefit calculation doesn’t take their self-employment into account.
- Small Business ($325B): This deal includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, dedicated set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions, and expanded PPP eligibility for 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including destination marketing organizations, and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters. $20 billion is included for new EIDL Grants for businesses in low-income communities, $3.5 billion for continued SBA debt relief payments, and $2 billion for enhancements to SBA lending. This deal also includes $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- Support for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions ($12B): The bill specifically includes $12 billion in funding for CDFIs and the creation of a new Neighborhood Capital Investment program to support CDFIs and MDIs and help low-income and minority communities withstand the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to this unprecedented economic downturn.
- Transportation ($45B): Specific aid for transportation includes $15 billion for airline payroll support, $1 billion for airline contractor payrolls, $14 billion for transit, $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion for airports and airport concessionaires, $2 billion for the private motorcoach, school bus, and ferry industries, and $1 billion for Amtrak.
- Vaccines, Testing and Tracing, Community Health and Health Care Provider Support ($69B): The bill provides essential funding for vaccine procurement and distribution, including funding specifically directed to high risk and underserved areas for distribution, including communities of color. The bill also provides more than $22 billion for testing, tracing and COVID mitigation programs, including targeted funding for communities of color and rural communities.
- Schools ($82B): Critical funding for education includes $4 billion for a Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund, which includes a set aside for private K-12 schools to be administered by public agencies, $54.3 billion for public K-12 schools, and $22.7 billion for higher education, including $20 billion for all public and private non-profit higher ed institutions, $908 million to for-profit colleges to provide financial aid grants to students, and $1.7 billion set aside for HBCUs, tribal colleges, and Minority-Serving Institutions, plus $113.5 million for institutions with the greatest unmet needs or those not served by the primary formula, such as independent graduate schools.
- Child Care ($10B): The bill secures $10 billion in emergency funds for the child care sector through the CCDBG program. These funds maintain the flexibility given to states through the CARES Act and can be used to provide child care assistance to families, and to help child care providers cover their increased operating costs during the pandemic. It also includes $250 million for Head Start providers to ensure they are able to continue to safely serve low-income children and families throughout the pandemic.
- Broadband ($7B): This bill provides $3.2 billion in emergency funds for low-income families to access broadband through an FCC fund and creates a $1 billion tribal broadband fund. It also provides $250 million dollars in telehealth funding and $65 million to complete the broadband maps in order for the government to effectively disperse funding to the areas that need it most. Lastly, it provides $2 billion to small telecommunication providers to install secure equipment and establishes a new $300 million grant program to fund broadband in rural areas.
- Coronavirus Relief Fund Extension: This bill extends the availability by one year (until Dec. 31, 2021) for funds provided to states and localities by the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act.
- Extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit: The bill importantly extends and expands the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which was established in the CARES Act. The extension of this tax credit will help keep additional U.S. workers on payroll and more small businesses and nonprofits across the country afloat.
The KC Chamber continues daily communication with local, state and federal officials to identify opportunities to bring this relief to KC area businesses, workforce and citizens and to communicate the need to be proactive in developing strategies to ‘restart’ the economy following this cessation of business.