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COVID-19

Breaking down the new COVID-19 relief bill

David Brancaccio, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Apr 22, 2020
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$310 billion goes toward loans for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Breaking down the new COVID-19 relief bill

David Brancaccio, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Apr 22, 2020
$310 billion goes toward loans for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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The House of Representatives is expected to pass new COVID-19 relief money that got through the Senate Tuesday. Among other things, the roughly $484 billion bill would replenish the program to help small businesses avoid laying people off, a program that has run dry.

It’s a lot of money: $310 billion goes toward loans for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program. There’s $60 billion set aside for small lenders, and another $60 billion for Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans and grants. There’s also $100 billion for hospitals and testing.

After the House votes Thursday, as it’s expected to, President Donald Trump says he’ll sign the bill, and that’ll get the new Paycheck Protection loan money flowing.

But it’ll be used up quickly, according to David Pommerehn, general counsel for the Consumer Bankers Association.

“We expect that those funds will help. We expect that they’ll get into the hands of the borrowers that need them, but they’re going to go very quickly,” Pommerehn said. “Most likely, that funding will likely be depleted within 48 to 72 hours.”

Congressional leaders say there will be another aid bill after this one. They’re not saying how much could be in it for small business loans. But Democrats say they’ll insist on more money for state and local governments.

President Trump has tweeted his support for that, saying some of the money could go toward infrastructure, things like bridges, tunnels and broadband.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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