Nine months after enacting the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, on December 21 lawmakers voted on and passed an additional $900 billion relief package. The compromise bill resulted from a series of intense negotiations that also produced a $1.4 trillion bill to fund the government through September 30, 2021, thereby avoiding a government shutdown. President Trump signed both bills on December 27.
Although the package is one of the largest relief efforts in U.S. history, it is a fraction of the original $3 trillion HEROES Act House Democrats passed in May. President-elect Biden has characterized the long-awaited relief as a “down payment” on future relief legislation to be pursued after his inauguration in January.
Here is a high-level summary of key provisions in the latest stimulus package:
Relief for Businesses
State and Local Aid
Contractor Pay Extension
Rental Assistance and Eviction Moratoriums
Vaccine Distribution and Health Care Provider Support
School Funding and Childcare
Nutrition and Agriculture
Liability Protections for Businesses Not Included
On-Going Efforts to Increase Direct Payments
Prior to signing the relief package and federal spending bill, President Trump issued a public statement in support of raising direct payments to individuals to $2,000. On December 28, by a bipartisan vote, the House passed the CASH Act, a bill to increase the $600 direct payments included in the stimulus package by an additional $1,400. On December 29, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an up-or-down vote on the CASH Act, instead indicating that the Senate would consider additional direct payments in tandem with other priorities.