Monday, February 22, 2021

What's in the House relief-and-stimulus bill

The House Budget Committee began marking up the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill today at 1 p.m. Markups are expected to be minor, so here's some of what's in the bill as of now:
  • $4 billion for the Agriculture Department to buy and distribute agricultural products to those in need, to extend grants and loans to smaller producers, to improve agricultural supply-chain resiliency, and help pay for necessary expenses related to crop losses (including weather-related losses).
  • $100 million from the overall USDA funding to reduce the amount of overtime inspection costs borne by small and very small federally inspected meat, poultry or egg processors. 
  • $500 million from the overall USDA funding for need-based grants to help rural health-care providers with pandemic-related expenses.
  • $1,400 in direct aid for people earning up to $75,000 per year, with declining amounts on a sliding scale to a hard cut-off at $100,000.
  • An increase of the child tax credit from the current $2,000 per child to $3,000 for each child 6 to 17 and $3,600 for those under age 6. The credit would have the same income thresholds as the stimulus checks, and it would become fully refundable so more low-income parents could take advantage, Payments would be distributed monthly rather than as a lump sum once a year.
  • Continuation of tax credits through Oct. 1 to employers who choose to offer paid family leave and sick leave. The mandatory leave approved in a previous relief package would not be reinstated.
  • A 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (formerly food stamps) would continue through September, instead of expiring at the end of June.
  • $880 million for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program.
  • States would be allowed to continue the Pandemic-EBT program, which provides families whose children's schools are closed with funding to replace free- and reduced-price meals that the kids would have received, through the summer.
  • $195.3 billion to state governments, including the District of Columbia. 
  • $130.2 billion to local governments, to be divided evenly among cities and counties. 
  • $20 billion to tribal governments and $4.5 billion to territorial governments.
  • $19.1 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent, rent assistance, and utility bills.
  • About $10 billion to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages, utilities and property taxes.
  • $5 billion to help state and local governments help the homeless.
  • $14 billion for coronavirus vaccine research, development, distribution, and compliance outreach efforts. 
  • $46 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and mitigation, including laboratory capacity, community-based testing sites, and mobile testing units, especially in medically underserved areas.
  • $7.6 billion to hire 100,000 public-health workers to support the coronavirus response.
  • $128.5 billion for K-12 schools to make them safer to reopen by reducing class sizes, modifying classrooms to enhance social distancing, installing ventilation systems, buying personal protective equipment, and hiring more nurses and counselors.
  • Nearly $40 billion for colleges and universities to defray pandemic-related expenses and provide emergency aid to students for expenses such as food, housing, and computer equipment. 
  • $39 billion to help child-care providers with operating expenses.
  • $25 billion for a new program benefiting restaurants and bars hurt by the pandemic. The grants would provide up to $10 million per business with a limit of $5 million per physical location.
  • $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill would also make more non-profit organizations eligible for PPP funds.
  • $175 million for outreach and promotion to help target businesses eligible for PPP funds.
  • Expanded federal unemployment benefits would be extended, with an increase from $300 a week to $400 a week through Aug. 29.
  • The federal minimum wage would gradually rise to $15 per hour by June 2025, and then be adjusted to increase at the same rate as median hourly wages. This provision may violate the parliamentary rules being used to pass the bill.
  • Federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act policies would be made more generous, and the maximum income cap would be eliminated for two years. Enrollees would pay no more than 8.5% of their income towards coverage, down from nearly 10% now. And those earning more than the current cap of 400% of the federal poverty level (about $51,000 for an individual and $104,800 for a family of four) would become eligible.
  • Federal subsidies for lower-income ACA enrollees would be eliminated completely, as would those for people collect unemployment benefits in 2021.
  • Laid-off workers who want to remain on their employer's health-insurance plans would have to pay only 15% of the premium through the end of September.
  • Federal matching funds for states that that expand Medicaid to low-income adults would be boosted by 5 percentage points for two years.
  • $15 billion for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides long-term, low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration. Severely impacted businesses with fewer than 10 workers will be given priority for some of the money.

No comments: