What’s in the bipartisan coronavirus relief bill unveiled Monday

Original post can be found on cnbc.com

Less than two weeks before 12 million Americans are set to lose jobless benefits and eviction protections around the country expire, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers introduced a $908 billion coronavirus relief package, a starting point for negotiations that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is calling a “Christmas miracle.” 

The package is broken into two bills: The $738 billion Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020 includes funding for enhanced unemployment benefits, another round of small business loans, emergency food assistance and emergency rental relief, among many other provisions, according to a summary of the package.

Meanwhile, the $160 billion Bipartisan State and Local Support and Small Business Protection Act of 2020 provides liability insurance for businesses and funding for state, local and tribal aid.

Congress has been at odds for months over what to include in the next coronavirus relief package and that’s why the package is broken into two parts. There’s room to compromise on the bill that includes liability insurance for businesses, which Republicans are advocating for, and state and local aid, which Democrats say is a must. 

“This is hope for those who have been asking their Congress to be responsive to what they’ve seen in the face of the pandemic,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said a press conference Monday.

The bill does not include funding for another round of stimulus checks, which was a popular component of the CARES Act. 

Unemployment insurance 

An estimated 12 million people are at risk of losing their jobless benefits the day after Christmas when two important CARES Act programs expire: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which extended unemployment benefits to gig workers and freelancers who don’t normally qualify, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides an extra 13 weeks of UI to those who have exhausted their state’s benefits.

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