Editor’s Note on 12/8: Since the publication of this story, The White House presented a new offer which includes a $600 direct payment.
The plan introduced by “The Problem Solvers Caucus,” a group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans in both the U.S. Senate and House, splits the more than $900 billion to 15 different areas.
A majority goes to three areas:
- $288 billion for small businesses, including more fund for the Paycheck Protection Program
- $180 billion for additional Unemployment Insurance
- $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments
The Paycheck Protection Program will get another round of funding. The forgivable loans to keep workers on payroll closed applications in August.
“I am particularly pleased that this package includes funding for another round of Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans, which has helped keep our small businesses afloat. In Maine alone, the PPP has helped sustain the jobs of 250,000 workers,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The $288 billion also will help fund the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, a low interest loan from the Small Business Administration ” designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus.”
The money will also go to: restaurants, stages, and deductibility.
In addition, Republicans pushed for “short term Federal protection from Coronavirus related lawsuits.”
“Included in this measure is a liability provision that provides a temporary suspension of any liability-related lawsuits at the state or federal level associated with COVID-19, giving states enough time to put in place their own protections,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
State, local and tribal governments
Democrats, meanwhile, got a win with funding for state, local and tribal governments. State governments have been dealing with many key aspects of the COVID-19 response.
“If enacted into law, today’s bipartisan package would increase unemployment benefits to help families make ends meet, give essential assistance to small businesses on the verge of closing, provide funds to the state and local governments who’ve led the response to this crisis, and much more – including support for schools, hospitals, and vaccine distribution,” said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
Extended federal unemployment benefits expired in September. Previously, the program added a $600 federal benefit.
This plan would provide a $300 weekly addition for four months.
No, the plan doesn’t include the second round of economic impact payments. Earlier in the year, the IRS issued 160 million checks of $1,200 per eligible taxpayer, plus $500 per child.
What else is included:
The rest of the funds will go to support:
- $82 billion for education
- $45 billion for transportation, including airlines, airports, buses, transit and Amtrak
- $35 billion for the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund from the Department of Health and Human Services
- $26 billion for nutrition and agriculture
- $25 billion for housing assistance, related to rentals
- $16 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing and contact tracing
- $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions
- $10 billion each for the U.S. Postal Service, child care and broadband
- $5 billion for opioid treatment
- $4 billion for student loans
“This is a win for the American people, for common sense, and for problem-solving. With cases spiking, winter around the corner, and countless small businesses closing every day, and far too many families hurting, we simply cannot leave anyone out in the cold. This is an essential down payment on what our families, small businesses, and local communities need,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the bipartisan offer on Tuesday, instead aiming to rally Republicans around the $550 billion GOP proposal.