The legislation includes an additional $50 billion for small businesses and an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently scheduled to shut down on March 31.
Earlier today President Biden signed his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law. Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation in a 220-211 vote with no Republican support. The U.S. Senate had previously passed the legislation in a 50-49 party-line vote using the reconciliation process.
The legislation will provide an additional $1,400 in stimulus checks to eligible Americans and a $300-a-week boost in supplemental federal unemployment aid. The bill will also provide assistance to those who want to remain on their employer health insurance plans through COBRA by covering laid-off workers' entire premium through the end of September 2021.
The legislation also includes an additional $50 billion for small businesses including a new $28.6 billion grant program for restaurants and bars, an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and an additional $15 billion in aid through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
The legislation was stripped of its provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision violated the Senate's reconciliation rules. Additionally, the plan also calls for $350 billion in funding for state and local governments, $20 billion for a national vaccine program and $50 billion for COVID-19 testing.
In additional COVID-19 relief news, House Committee on Small Business Chair Nydia Velázquez (D-New York) and Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri) reached an agreement to extend the deadline for the PPP until May 31. Rep. Luetkemeyer will be speaking during the Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference next month. The PPP is currently scheduled to shut down on March 31. The full House could vote on this bipartisan deal as early as next week. Just last week, the Big “I" urged Congress to extend the program so more small business would have access to the PPP.
Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.