© 2023 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Here Is What's In The COVID-19 Relief Package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speak following a press conference Dec. 20 on Capitol Hill after Republicans and Democrats finally came to an agreement on the coronavirus relief bill.
Tasos Katopodis
Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speak following a press conference Dec. 20 on Capitol Hill after Republicans and Democrats finally came to an agreement on the coronavirus relief bill.

Updated on Dec. 30 at 11:15 a.m. ET

President Trump has signed a major legislative package that includes coronavirus relief and government spending for the next fiscal year.

Just after Congress passed the bill last week — and shortly before Christmas — the president called the measure a "disgrace," in part for not having high enough direct payments to Americans, a move his own party had been against.

Nevertheless, Trump signed the package on Sunday, urging Congress to do more separately.

Here are the highlights of what is in COVID-19 relief package that is now law, including $600 relief checks for many Americans, an assortment of aid for small businesses and money to purchase and distribute vaccines:

Individual benefits

  • $600 direct payment checks for every adult and child earning up to $75,000. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $87,000 would get smaller checks, and the benefit cuts out entirely for individuals earning over $87,000.
  • Unemployment benefits: Lawmakers agreed to extend enhanced unemployment benefits for jobless workers, who will receive up to $300 per week through mid-March. Self-employed people and gig workers will also receive extended assistance.
  • Rental assistance: The measure includes $25 billion to help families pay their rent, and it extends the eviction moratorium now in effect until Jan. 31.
  • SNAP assistance: The measure includes an additional $13 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Small-business help

  • PPP loans: The agreement includes some $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans. Democrats say they expanded eligibility for the loans to include nonprofits and local newspapers, along with TV and radio stations. Also, $15 billion would be reserved for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, which have been struggling due to pandemic-forced closures.
  • Child care centers: The measure includes $10 billion for child care centers to help providers safely reopen.
  • Vaccines

  • The agreement includes some $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and help states conduct testing — $20 billion of that funding will make the vaccine available at no cost for anybody needing it.
  • Broadband access

  • The measure contains $7 billion to increase access to broadband Internet, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit that Democrats say will help millions of students' families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.
  • Transportation aid

    Lawmakers also agreed to provide $45 billion in transportation-related assistance, including:

  • $16 billion for airlines to pay the salaries of workers and contractors.
  • $14 billion for mass transit agencies.
  • $10 billion for highways.
  • $1 billion for Amtrak.
  • Education

  • The measure contains $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening, including, $2.75 billion for private K-12 education.
  • Agriculture

  • There is some $13 billion in the measure for farmers and agriculture, including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers.
  • Medical bills

  • The measure also includes a provision ending surprise medical billing.Republicans say patients would be required to receive a "true and honest cost estimate" three days before any scheduled procedure and that billing disputes would be subject to arbitration.
  • Tax-deductible meals

  • Lawmakers also included a provision sought by Trump, making the cost of meals a deductible business expense.
  • Read the bill in full.

    This story was originally published on Dec. 21.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Corrected: December 30, 2020 at 12:00 AM EST
    An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that direct payments end for individuals earning over $99,000. In fact, payments end for individuals earning over $87,000.
    NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
    To make informed decisions, the public must receive unbiased truth.

    As Southwestern Pennsylvania’s only independent public radio news and information station, we give voice to provocative ideas that foster a vibrant, informed, diverse and caring community.

    WESA is primarily funded by listener contributions. Your financial support comes with no strings attached. It is free from commercial or political influence…that’s what makes WESA a free vital community resource. Your support funds important local journalism by WESA and NPR national reporters.

    You give what you can, and you get news you can trust.
    Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.