What’s included in Congress’ $900 billion COVID relief bill
By David Brancaccio
Under a pandemic relief plan agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats on Sunday night, the headline items are $600 checks to individuals making $75,000 a year or less and an additional $300 per week from the federal government in unemployment benefits for many. There’s also money for the Paycheck Protection loan program for small businesses. That’s by far the biggest line item in the COVID relief plan: $284 billion to businesses to help keep their people on the payroll — grants if rules are met, loans if rules are not met. “The greatest amount of damage, and the biggest amount of potentially irreversible damage to employment, is in the small business sector,” said Karen Petrou, co-founder and managing partner of the Washington-based economic consulting firm Federal Financial Analytics. “So getting these PPP loans back out to small businesses, including very small and minority-owned businesses, is critical to returning the economy to a sustained and more secure base of low- and moderate-income employment.”