As Congressional discussions for the second round of the economic stimulus package continues, some features look like they are going to stay in the package. It has now passed the Senate by a unanimous vote and has been handed over to the House where it will no doubt be debated further and changed or amended. President Trump has already said that he will sign it once the bill moves to his desk.
Although some changes may yet be made to the bill, here are the basics. The bill so far has designated $484 billion in funds for pandemic relief. These are some of the things that are in the package now.
More Help for Businesses
The Paycheck Protection Program in the initial stimulus package was created to help small businesses be able to keep their employees on the payroll even if they were not working. So many businesses applied for business loans that the $349 billion designated to the fund ran out of money in just two weeks. The new stimulus package will add another $320 billion to that fund.
The goal this time is to help even smaller businesses than those that benefited from the funds in the last round. Many smaller banks did not get any money to distribute, which meant that many people in need had nowhere to go to apply for the loan. The new program designates $60 billion to go to small banks – but it is realized already that it may not be enough.
The $60 billion is supposed to go to rural areas that will enable mom and pop stores to be able to apply. It also rules out large companies from applying. Minorities and people without bank accounts should also be able to tap into some of this money.
New Groups Targeted for Help
This round of money will designate funds to help some important groups that were left out in the first package. $75 billion will be designated for hospitals, health care workers, and to provide more testing for all.
Money for Testing
Up until it was debated in the Senate this go-round, the White House has said that it was up to the various states to provide money for testing. Now, testing has been added to the bill with $25 billion designated for every aspect of it including the research and development, manufacturing, buying, and to enable widespread testing. The money will go to both federal and state governments.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan
Another part of the CARES Act included the funding of a program by the Small Business Association called the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. It enabled businesses to apply and get up to $10,000 in the form of immediate cash as a grant. It was for businesses that had a temporary loss of income, but the program has run out or money. The new bill designates another $60 billion to go into this program.
Along with the new bill possibly being passed on Thursday in the House, and President Trump saying he will sign it, other coronavirus news has shown up in the form of a computer model that reveals the best time to open-up states. The model, which was created by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, shows that most states will only be able to safely open for business weeks later than earlier thought possible. Whether or not state governments will see this as a valid or worthwhile model will be up to each governor and their advisors.