The massive year-end catch-all bill President Donald Trump signed into law combines $900 billion in COVID-19 relief with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and tons other unfinished laws on taxes, energy, education and health care.
Measurement highlights with overall funding amounts and specific amounts for some initiatives, but not necessarily all.
Unemployment insurance ($120 billion). Restores additional federal pandemic unemployment benefits, but at $300 a week – until March 14 – instead of the $600 a week that expired in July. Extends special pandemic benefits for “gig” workers and extends the maximum period of unemployment benefits paid by the state to 50 weeks.
Direct payments ($166 billion). Provides direct payments of $600 to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and couples earning up to $150,000 per year – with payments being phased out for higher incomes – with additional payments of $600 per dependent child.
Paycheck Protection Program ($284 billion). Relaunches the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to qualified businesses. Particularly affected companies that received PPP grants would be eligible for a second round. Ensures that PPP grants are not taxed.
Vaccines, tests, health providers ($69 billion). Provides over $30 billion for the purchase of vaccines and treatments, distribution funds for states, and strategic stockpile. Adds $22 billion for testing, tracing and mitigation, $9 billion for healthcare providers and $4.5 billion for mental health.
Schools and universities ($82 billion). Providing $54 billion to K-12 public schools impacted by the pandemic and $23 billion to colleges and universities; $4 billion would go to an emergency relief fund for governors’ education; nearly a billion dollars for Native American schools.
Rental assistance ($25 billion). Provides money for a first-ever federal rental assistance program; funds to be distributed by state and local governments to help people who have fallen behind on their rent and are at risk of eviction.
Food/agricultural aid ($26 billion). Increases patch benefits by 15% for six months and provides funding for food banks, Meals on Wheels and other food assistance. Provides an equal amount ($13 billion) to farmers and ranchers.
Child care ($10 billion). Provides $10 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant to help families with child care costs and help providers cover rising operating costs.
Postal service ($10 billion). Cancels a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service provided for in previous relief legislation.
OMNIBUS CREDITS ($1,400,000,000)
The omnibus measure consolidates 12 spending bills into one and funds agencies’ operating budgets through September 30 next year. It combines Democratic priorities such as a $12.5 billion increase over existing budget limits for national programs while cutting Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and removal costs by $431 million. dollars. COVID-19 contributed to a sharp drop in costs. Republicans have backed sustained defense spending, energy provisions and longstanding bans on federal abortion funding. The measure also provides President Donald Trump with a final $1.4 billion installment for a wall on the US-Mexico border.
The measure also contains over 3,000 pages of miscellaneous legislation, such as:
Surprise medical billing. Includes bipartisan legislation to protect consumers from huge surprise medical bills after receiving treatment from out-of-network providers.
Community health centers. Reauthorizes funding for community health centers for three years and extends various expiring health care policies, including reimbursement rates for various health care providers and procedures under Medicare and Medicaid
Tax extenders. Extends a variety of expiring tax breaks, including reduced excise taxes on craft brewers and distillers. Renewable energy sources would see the tax breaks extended, as would motorsport facilities and people making charitable contributions. Business meals would be 100% deductible until 2022 and out-of-pocket healthcare costs would be deductible after reaching 7.5% of income. It would also extend favorable tax treatment to “transparent” entities of offshore subsidiaries of US corporations.
Water projects. Includes a nearly 400-page water resources bill that targets $10 billion for 46 Army Corps of Engineers flood control, environmental protection and coastal protection projects.
Clean energy. Stimulates “clean energy” programs like research and development, efficiency incentives and tax credits. Eliminates “super pollutant” hydrochlorofluorocarbons.
Education. Includes a bipartisan agreement to cancel about $1.3 billion in federal loans to historically black colleges and universities and simplify college financial aid forms. Increases the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students from $150 to $6,495. Offers “second chance” Pell grants to incarcerated prisoners.
“Doped” horse racing. Adds bipartisan legislation from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to create national medication and safety standards for the horse racing industry as lawmakers work to crack down on the use of enhancing drugs performance that can lead to injury and death in horses.
New Smithsonian Museums. Establishes the Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the Latin American as new Smithsonian museums located near the National Mall.
Pipeline safety. Falls back in pipeline safety legislation re-authorizing operating subsidies and safety standards for oil and gas pipelines.
Aircraft safety. Adds, after the Boeing 737 MAX crash scandal, legislation to strengthen the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft certification process. Addresses human factors, cockpit automation and international pilot training while authorizing nearly $275 million over the next five years to implement the legislation.
intelligence programs. Reauthorizes intelligence programs for 2021.
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