After months of delays and stalled negotiations, Congress has reportedly reached a $900 billion stimulus deal. The breakthrough was announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) Sunday evening (Dec. 21).
Lawmakers are set to vote on the proposal soon, along with a government spending bill for the next year. As reported by CNBC (opens in new tab), the stimulus deal will include a $600 second stimulus check in the form of direct payments to adults. Families are expected to get $600 per child, but adult dependents will not be included. The text of the relief bill still has to be finalized.
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If Congress follows the last bill, Americans who make less than $75,000 a year, according to their most recent tax returns, should qualify for the entire payment. Persons making between $75,001 and $99,000 will receive reduced amounts. Married couples should qualify if they have a joint total income of $150,000 or less, but more details should be coming soon.
Democrats say the new coronavirus bill will provide $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. Another $20 billion will go to small business grants.
In addition, the proposal is said to include both a $300 federal unemployment supplement, as well as $300 billion for small business assistance, which includes Paycheck Protection Program loans.
As Covid-19 vaccines finally start to be distributed, the deal is also set to include funding for distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Both of these vaccines have been approved by the FDA, but the federal government has been criticized for the slow pace of the rollout. In addition, the relief package should bring additional funding to hospitals.
The federal government says it plans to distribute 5.9 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine across this coming week. And the U.S. is distributing 2 million more doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. This follows after 2.9 million doses were cleared for shipment this past last week.
The additional relief can not come soon enough, as more than 2,500 Covid-related deaths were recorded in the U.S. on Saturday, and as well as 196,000 new cases. In addition, there were 935,000 new claims for state unemployment benefits this past week, while 455,000 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
The House is set to reconvene at 6:30 p.m. ET in order to debate a continuing resolution to extend the 2021 budget negotiations by another day, and then vote around 6:45 p.m. ET. After that, the budget bill goes to the Senate for passage. Both houses expect to vote on the stimulus bill Monday (Dec. 22).
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