Tuesday evening, the Senate passed a $484 billion coronavirus relief package aimed at the public health and economic crises converging from the pandemic. On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill, 388-5.
Of the $484 billion, $320 billion is set to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program meant to support small businesses experiencing lost revenue. A fifth of the money for the program- approximately $60 billion- is earmarked for smaller lenders, such as local banks and credit unions, in an attempt to move resources toward businesses that would typically have issue accessing loans. The PPP received an initial $349 billion in funding, but funds quickly ran out before many companies could apply or be approved.
Another $60 billion is set aside for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund, $50 billion for loans and $10 billion for grants, and agricultural enterprises will now be eligible for these funds. Hospitals and other healthcare providers will receive $75 billion, and $25 billion will be put toward improvement and expansion of COVID-19 testing at multiple levels. Included in the bill is a requirement that the federal government prepare a national testing strategy for COVID-19 rather than leaving the process solely to state governments.
The bill is now going to the President for final signature.
The next COVID-19 relief package is expected to address providing additional funds to states and localities, providing fiscal relief for the lost revenues from the extended quarantine. The Administration has also suggested the next bill will address tax incentives for various industries and payroll tax cuts to support economic growth.
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