Sen. Coons votes to pass $900B COVID-19 relief package
December 22, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, voted to pass a roughly $900 billion stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is expected to become law quickly.
“Today, Republicans and Democrats finally upheld our responsibility to the American people and worked together to pass a $900 billion relief package that will help Delawareans in a time of great need. This package will provide prompt aid to our small businesses, especially those hardest-hit by this pandemic; to working Delawareans who were laid off through no fault of their own; and to our families that are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table. It will also help deliver the resources we need to swiftly produce and distribute a vaccine so we can finally combat this pandemic once and for all,” said Senator Coons. “This must not be the last relief bill, but it’s a strong compromise that will deliver relief to the Delawareans who need it before the holidays.”
The roughly $900 billion stimulus package includes:
- An expansion of the unemployment insurance program. The package includes a $300 per week federal supplement to weekly state benefits through March 14, 2021. It also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. Additionally, the bill increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through regular state unemployment plus the PEUC program, or through the PUA program, to 50 weeks.
- Direct financial support to American working families. The package provides $600 in direct payments for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each child dependent. The package also ensures households with individuals of mixed immigration status will receive payments.
- $325 billion to small businesses. The package includes two small business proposals first introduced by Senator Coons: $284 billion for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans-to-grants [coons.senate.gov] – prioritized for businesses hit hard by the pandemic – and a $3.5 billion extension of the Small Business Debt Relief Program [coons.senate.gov], which has already delivered $8 billion in debt relief, automatically, to more than 320,000 credit-constrained small businesses nationwide and nearly 900 in Delaware.
- $12 billion in support for Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions, of which $3 billion is for grants through the CDFI Fund program and $9 billion is for Treasury Department capital investments. CDFIs are mission-driven financial lenders that deliver responsible, affordable lending to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities. Over 300 CDFIs have served as PPP lenders, helping to reach some of the hardest-hit minority-owned small businesses.
- $1 billion to help cover Amtrak’s operating losses during the unprecedented drop in ridership levels.
- $25 billion in rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and an eviction moratorium extension through January 31, 2021.
- $10 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to families, and to help child care providers cover their increased operating costs during the pandemic.
- $69 billion for vaccines, testing and tracing, community health and health care provider support. The bill provides roughly $20 billion to BARDA to procure vaccines and therapeutics, $9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution and more than $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile. The bill specifically directs a total of $2.8 billion to high-risk and underserved areas for distribution, including communities of color. The bill provides more than $22 billion for testing, tracing, and COVID mitigation programs. Lastly, the bill provides $4.5 billion in mental health funding, $9 billion in support for health care providers, and more than $1 billion for NIH to research COVID-19.
- $82 billion in support to school systems and higher education institutions. This funding includes $1.7 billion for HBCUs and minority-serving institutions like Delaware State University.
- $13 billion to assist people facing hunger, including increased SNAP benefits and additional funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs.
- $13 billion to support farmers who have suffered losses during the pandemic. The bill includes a provision that Senator Coons fought for as a co-chair of the Senate Chicken Caucus to extend assistance to contract poultry growers and growers who have been forced to depopulate in Delaware and around the country.
- $300 million for fishermen and seafood producers hurt by the pandemic, including a provision that Senator Coons championed to provide a minimum of 1% of total funding to each state.
- $4 billion for global health programs and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to support the equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.