Washington, DC— Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) voted for the coronavirus relief package that has been the subject of long negotiations between the House and Senate.  Previously, the House had passed its own version of a coronavirus relief package, the HEROES Act, on May 15, 220 days ago.

If you need assistance with access to unemployment services, stimulus payments, business aid, or any other federal program, please contact Congressman Himes’s offices at (202)225-5541 or (203)333-6600 or go online here.

“It was absolutely necessary to get this compromise done before Congress left for the year,” said Himes.  “Families’ suffering and need have only gotten worse as this pandemic has dragged on.  The final bill we came away with is not perfect, but it contains vital aid for individuals and small businesses without giving away the store to giant corporations.”

Notable provisions in the bill include:

Economic Impact (Direct) Payments (EIP):

  • Congress included EIP provisions that will provide one time payments of $600 per eligible adult and $600 per eligible dependent under the age of 17
  • Eligibility for this provision is the same as in the CARES Act:
    • All single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 filing single or $150,000 filing jointly receive the full benefit.
    • The benefit tapers off until it is completely eliminated for those making more than $99,000 filing single/$198,000 filing jointly at a rate of 5%.
    • Requires a work-eligible social security number.
  • Unlike the CARES Act, “mixed-status families,” where one spouse is a citizen and the other is not, ARE eligible for payments for each citizen in the family. This change is retroactive, so mixed-status families will be able to claim the original EIP when they file their 2020 tax return in 2021.

Unemployment Insurance (UI):

  • The bill includes supplemented unemployment insurance for both “gig” and “non-gig” extended for 11 weeks (through March 14th).
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is extended for 11 weeks (through March 14th) at $300 per week.  This means everyone who is receiving at least $1 in unemployment insurance per week – including those on PUA – will receive an additional $300.
  • Unemployment insurance under the bill will include an extra $100 (on top of $300) for “mixed earners” -- workers who earned income from both W-2 and non-W2 jobs.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • The PPP lending program is continued with $284.5 billion dollars in funding to provide forgivable loans to small businesses.
    • It includes set asides for smaller borrowers/underserved communities, including small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
    • $15 billion is reserved for loans made by small community lenders (community banks/credit unions).
    • $15 billion has been designated for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions. The set aside exists to ensure money reaches low-income and underserved communities.
  • The bill will allow businesses that were especially hard hit by the pandemic to apply for a second PPP loan.  To qualify a firm must have 300 or fewer employees AND had revenue loss of at least 25% in any quarter of 2020.
  • PPP is expanded to include 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations, includes simplified loan forgiveness for loans under $150,000, and changes the calculations for restaurants to allow them to take loans at 350% of payroll instead of 250%.

The administration of this provision should be very similar to the administration of the first round of PPP, and logistics and processes should become clearer over the coming days. Interested businesses should contact their financial institutions with questions about application or qualification for the program.

Rental Assistance:

  • The bill provides $25B in rental relief funding to eligible households in a program to be administered by states.
  • Eligible uses include rent, rental arrears, necessary utilities, and arrears of necessary utilities.
  • Renters will apply for the assistance and state agencies will send the payment directly to landlord. Landlords can also apply directly for assistance but will be required to notify the tenant that assistance is being provided on their behalf and obtain the tenant’s consent.
  • Eligible households are defined as renters who:
    • Have a household income not more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI); have one or more household members who can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and have one or more household members who qualify for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the pandemic.

Food Aid:

  • The bill contains $13 billion in nutrition assistance including a 15% percent increase in Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) benefits for 6 months, $400 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), $4.6 billion to extend Pandemic EBT program (P-EBT) to child care facilities and schools to provide free and reduced-price meals to children who qualify, and $175 million for Meals on Wheels.

Other Provisions:

  • The bill contains $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including support for HVAC repair and replacement to mitigate virus transmission and reopen classrooms.
  • The bill includes $10 billion for childcare assistance to help get parents back to work and keep childcare providers open.
  • Transportation assistance including $14 billion for transit, $10 billion for state highways, and $2 billion for airports.

“We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as vaccination ramps up in Connecticut and across the country,” said Himes.  “But the pandemic is not over. With thousands of people still dying every day and millions of our neighbors out of work and businesses shuttering at a fast pace, intervention is necessary to keep people in their homes, keep food on the table, keep the lights and heat on, and put us in a better position for a fast recovery.”

Again, if you need assistance with access to unemployment services, stimulus payment, business aid, or any other federal program, please contact Congressman Himes’s offices at (202)225-5541 or (203)333-6600 or go online here.

For more information or with any questions, please email Patrick Malone at Patrick.malone@mail.house.gov.