Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate reached a deal late yesterday on a new pandemic relief bill. It will cost around $900 billion to implement, less than half of the $2 trillion CARES act cost back in March.
What’s in the new pandemic relief bill?
The agreed-upon deal includes the following:
- $600 stimulus checks to individuals.
- $300 weekly federal enhancement in unemployment benefits for 11 weeks.
- An extension to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. It is what made gig workers such as myself eligible for unemployment benefits. Under normal circumstances, independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment benefits because they lack an employer who pays into a state unemployment system.
- Small business loans including reopening the Paycheck Protection Program so some businesses can get a second loan. $350 billion of the $800 billion will go to businesses.
- $82 billion for K-12 schools and colleges.
- An increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15%. This increase only applies to people currently in the program.
- $20 billion in COVID-19 vaccine funding. This will enable Americans to get the vaccine free of charge. Another $8 billion will go to the distribution of the vaccine.
- $20 billion will go to the states to pay for testing.
- $1.5 billion to fund wall construction between the U.S. and Mexico border. Supposedly this was included in the bill to ensure President Trump will sign it into law.
The United States is the richest country in the world, right?
I think it’s ridiculous it took the millionaires in congress this long to come up with a second stimulus bill. No other country has been affected by the coronavirus as badly as the United States, mostly because of inept leadership. A new stimulus bill should have been ironed out before the programs in the CARES act expired. Instead, the American people have been left to suffer while the elite ruling class, our elected officials, failed to act.
Why even be the richest country in the world if you sit by and watch people needlessly suffer? I’ve been told my entire life that the United States is the greatest country in the world. That notion flies in the face of COVID-19. We’ve responded to this worldwide pandemic worse than every other country in the world.
If you were a time traveler forced to go back in time to the year 2020, the United States is the last country you want to go to.