Congress approved a final passage to a $484 billion package of new pandemic relief funds. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
, comes on the heels of the $2 trillion CARES Act enacted last month, and tens of billions of dollars in earlier measures passed in response to the pandemic. The package notably replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with an additional $310 billion, and to avoid forcing smaller companies to compete for the funds with larger ones, sets $60 billion of that aside for smaller companies. In addition, the legislation allocates an additional $75 billion to Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to be used to reimburse providers for coronavirus-related expenses and lost revenue, as well as $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and an additional $10 billion for EIDL advance grants. The legislation also includes $25 billion for COVID-19 testing, of which $11 billion goes to states. The bill is widely regarded as an interim step with Congress and the Trump administration are already turning their focus on the next round of stimulus funding. Democrats specifically have pushed for funds for state and local governments, hazard pay for front-line workers, food aid, election security and funds for the U.S. Postal Service, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
(KY) hasn’t yet committed to another big aid package. Congress isn’t scheduled to return to Washington until May 4.
A synopsis of all Congressional action on COVID-19 can be found HERE