Just days before Christmas, Congress announced on Sunday (Dec. 20) that they have reached an agreement to send out a near $900 billion COVID-19 relief package to help jobless Americans, families in need, and small businesses that have been hard-hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. After months of waiting and stalling from members of congress on both sides, Americans are set to receive a new round of direct payments in the first quarter of 2021.
“We can finally report what our nation has needed to hear for a very long time: More help is on the way,” Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, said Sunday evening on the Senate floor. “Moments ago, in consultation with our committees, the four leaders of the Senate and the House finalized an agreement. There will be another major rescue package for the American people.”
McConnell said the two parties were still finalizing the text in Washington on Sunday night, and he did not reveal when the bill would formally be introduced. “I’m hopeful we can do this as promptly as possible,” he said.
The agreement will include more stimulus checks, a federal unemployment insurance bonus, funds for vaccine distribution, and aid for hospitals, schools, and businesses struggling to stay afloat and are unable to pay rent and workers. It might also provide rental and food assistance, as well as provide billions of dollars to help schools and small businesses, reviving the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program that lapsed this year.
The New York Times reported that the agreement is expected to provide stimulus payments of $600 to American adults and children and revive the supplemental federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week. The new amount is only half of the level of aid delivered by the $2.2 trillion stimulus law that was passed in March.