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Congress Finalizes New COVID-19 Relief Package

by Katrina Lee | Dec 21, 2020

On Sunday, December 20, 2020, Congressional leaders announced that they have finalized an agreement on a package that provides both COVID-relief and full fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding for the 12 federal appropriations bills.

Because the two-day extension of current government funding expired at midnight Sunday December 20, 2020, Congress passed a new one-day extension that will go through midnight Monday, December 21, 2020. Both chambers need to pass the legislation and the President needs to sign it to keep government funding going as of Tuesday morning, or else there will have to be another extension of government funding to allow time for the bills to be passed and signed by the President. 

While we expect the deal to ultimately be approved by both chambers, some members are asking for time to review the language before voting, despite great pressure to approve a package before Congress recesses for the holiday break. Tomorrow, the House is expected to pass a subsequent 7-day extension, embedded in the rule to accompany the COVID-19 relief package, to allow sufficient time to finalize and print the bill text and for the Senate to consider and pass the package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have issued a joint statement on the coronavirus relief and omnibus agreement that includes key components that may benefit the counseling community: 

  • $600 eligible direct payment to citizens.
  • $4.25 Billion for mental health and substance use disorder programs.
  • $284 Billion Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.
  • $300 per week for unemployment insurance benefits.
  • $25 Billion for rental assistance, and an eviction moratorium extension
  • $82 Billion for education. This includes funding to re-open America’s school safely, and assistance for colleges and universities.
  • $10 Billion for child-care assistance.
  • $13 Billion to increase the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other nutrition benefits for children.
  • Employer Tax Credit for offering paid sick leave to your employees.

We will continue to monitor and provide updates.

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