WASHINGTON – A $483 billion coronavirus relief bill — the fourth coronavirus response legislation so far — is moving through Congress. The legislation easily passed the Senate on Tuesday and has the support of House Democrats and Republicans and President Donald Trump.
Here are the highlights:
SMALL-BUSINESS GRANTS AND LOANS
The bill includes $383 billion in aid to smaller businesses. The largest piece, $251 billion, would replenish the Paycheck Protection Program to deliver loans of up to $10 million each for companies with 500 employees or fewer that absorb coronavirus-related losses; much of the loans can be forgiven if employers retain workers. An additional $60 billion would be evenly split between smaller banks and community development financial institutions to help traditionally underbanked urban neighborhoods and rural areas. Another $60 billion would be delivered through the Small Business Administration's disaster loan program, with $10 billion of that total in direct grants.
The legislation includes $75 billion for grants to hospitals and other health care providers to cover coronavirus-related costs or lost revenues that can be attributed to the pandemic.
The bill includes $25 billion for coronavirus testing as a step to relaxing stay-at-home restrictions that are a prerequisite to safely reopening the economy, split between federal and state governments. $11 billion would be made available to states “to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests.” Funds can also be used by the states “to conduct surveillance, trace contacts, and other related activities related” to virus testing. Of the federal funds, money will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and other agencies to accelerate the deployment of rapid testing and develop serological tests for antibodies. The legislation envisions a federal plan to implement the testing regime.