The Sentinel

Second Coronavirus Financial Aid Package Approved

January 4, 2021

On Sunday, Dec. 27, after a nearly week-long delay, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 financial relief aid package, which also averted a looming government shutdown by providing $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September. In total, the federal government has appropriated more than $4 trillion in stimulus dollars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

According to an Associated Press report, the president’s delay in signing the legislation – during which he argued for more generous direct stimulus payments beyond the $600 agreed to in the final deal – led to a brief lapse in unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. More than 509,000 workers in Pennsylvania may have to wait weeks to receive unemployment benefits after two federal programs expired shortly before the president signed the bill: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that provides benefits to gig workers, the self-employed and those who do not qualify for traditional unemployment compensation; and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which offered an additional 13 weeks of compensation to those who had exhausted their benefits.

 

The two unemployment programs were extended as part of the larger COVID-19 relief package. In addition, the bill adds a supplemental $300 to weekly benefits – half of what was provided through an earlier iteration of the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program that expired in July.

 

Other noteworthy provisions of the COVID-19 stimulus legislation include:

 

  • $284 billion for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. Businesses that already received a PPP loan will be eligible to reapply under the new terms, with some funds set aside for the smallest businesses and community based lenders. $20 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans were also appropriated to help small businesses.
  • $9 billion in capital investments for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions that largely cater to minority-owned businesses, as well as $3 billion for CDFIs through a Treasury fund.
  • $82 billion for schools and colleges to help reopen classrooms and mitigate virus transmission.
  • $20 billion to acquire vaccines, $8 billion for vaccine distribution, $20 billion for states to conduct testing and $20 billion in extra federal relief for healthcare providers.

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Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.