Dec 21 2020
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the passage of a COVID-19 relief bill that includes vital assistance for families and businesses continuing to suffer due to the pandemic:
“This COVID-19 package includes funds for crucial programs like direct payments to working Americans, unemployment benefits, rental relief, help for small businesses and student loan forbearance. These funds are vital not only for the millions of people still out of work but also for the overall stability of our economy. While Democrats pushed for more robust funding, this package represents necessary, immediate relief for families, businesses and communities as we await full deployment of the vaccine and the incoming Biden administration.”
Provisions in the COVID-19 relief package include:
- Provides $300 per week in expanded federal unemployment benefits for 11 weeks, ending March 14. These are critical benefits to the nearly 1.8 million unemployed Californians and to California “gig” workers and contractors who would not otherwise qualify for benefits.
- Includes $25 billion for rental assistance, including a provision to extend the federal evictions moratorium until the end of January 2021.
- Provides a second round of direct payments of $600 per adult and $600 for each of their children. Individuals earning $75,000 per year will receive the full benefit, which will then decrease to zero for those earning $99,000 per year in income.
- Includes $325 billion to help small businesses stay afloat, including $284 billion to expand the Paycheck Protection Program and allow small businesses with 300 or fewer employees that have sustained 25 percent or more in lost revenue in any quarter of 2020 to apply for a second forgivable CARES Act small business loan. This provision earmarks a percentage of funds for minority-owned small businesses, businesses with 10 or fewer employees and community development financial institutions.
- Provides $82 billion for K-12 schools, colleges and universities to safely reopen and cover costs associated with sanitation and distance learning. The bill also includes a provision to extend CARES Act student loan forbearance through April 30, 2021, continuing the pause on monthly payments and interest accrual on federal student loans.
- Includes $69 billion to assist with the COVID-19 response, including financial relief for hospitals; conduct testing and contact tracing; procure personal protective equipment; and procure and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
- Provides $10 billion for child care providers struggling to stay open because of the pandemic. Grants may be used for personnel; sanitization and cleaning; and meeting mortgage obligations, rent, utilities and insurance.
- Includes $15 billion in grants to live venue operators, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions, which have been among the hardest-hit parts of the economy by the pandemic.
- Includes a temporary 15 percent increase for four additional months for food stamp benefits, plus funding to support food banks and food pantries and school and child care meal programs.
- Provides $45 billion for transportation systems to ensure continued operations and prevent furloughs and layoffs. Includes funding for public transit, the bus industry, airlines, airports and Amtrak.