Omnibus Bill Includes $900 Billion for Health Crisis Relief; Small Businesses and Unemployed Workers Get Lifeline
Long-awaited stimulus package becomes law. After months of negotiations, Congress and the White House agreed to approximately $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, bringing the total stimulus investment in the past year to more than $3 trillion. Some major provisions included additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), enhanced and extended unemployment benefits that once again includes contractors and gig-workers, rental assistance, and $600 stimulus checks for most people. Although a few of the programs extend into April, others may need to be revisited much sooner as vaccine distribution comes into greater focus. The federal unemployment boost until mid-March and eviction moratorium extended to the end of January, for example, still fall short of even optimistic timelines for life to return to normal in most places. Congressional leadership failed to reach a compromise on funding for state and local governments, along with a litigation shield related to COVID-19.