Note: At press time, the status of the relief bill continues to change. On Tuesday, December 22, President Trump said he would reject the package due to the size of the stimulus checks, in addition to other issues. The House will gather for a pro forma session on Christmas Eve, December 24, where Democrats will present a bill to boost stimulus payments to $2,000.
On Sunday, December 20, Congress struck a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill. The bill was passed by Congress on Monday, December 21.
Below are some of the main takeaways for booksellers.
Small Business Relief
$284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans:
- Deductibility of business expenses paid for with forgiven PPP funds.
- Dedicated set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions.
- $20 billion for new Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants for businesses in low-income communities.
- $3.5 billion for continued Small Business Administration (SBA) debt relief payments on SBA loans.
- $2 billion for enhancements to SBA lending.
Extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit
- Extension and expansion of the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit established under the CARES Act to help keep employees on payroll.
Support for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions
- $12 billion for financial institutions to help low-income and minority communities.
- $120 billion for enhanced unemployment insurance of an additional $300 per week through March 14, 2021, and an additional $100 per week for certain workers whose unemployment benefit does not take into account their self-employment income.
- Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to expand unemployment coverage to the self-employed and gig workers, among others.
- Extension of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to provide additional weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to people who exhaust their regular state benefits.
- Increased number of weeks a person may claim unemployment benefits through regular state unemployment plus federally-extended unemployment to 50 weeks.
- $166 billion for Economic Impact Payments (“Stimulus Checks”) of $600 for people making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, in addition to $600 for each child dependent. Payment amounts start phasing out for people and couples with incomes over $75,000 and $150,000, respectively. These are the same income thresholds as in the CARES Act.
- Expansion of direct payments to mixed-status households (households with different citizenship statuses).
- $13 billion in increased SNAP benefits (“food stamps”) and nutrition programs.
Emergency Rental Assistance and Eviction Moratoriums
- $25 billion in emergency rental assistance for families impacted by COVID that are struggling to make rent.
- Extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.
United States Postal Service
- Conversion of the $10 billion CARES Act loan into a grant to be used for operational costs and other expenses due to the pandemic.