UPDATED Dec. 21, 2020, 12:25 pm: It’s smaller than some people had hoped, but another federal aid package to help boost the pandemic-ravaged economy is finally on its way.
Congressional leaders on Sunday reached an agreement on a $900 billion stimulus package that would provide direct payouts of $600 to qualifying Americans, as well as revive a loan program for small businesses, according to the New York Times.
The deal, likely to be finalized Monday, would continue the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of this year. It will be extended through Jan. 31, at which time the Biden administration could choose to continue it. Additionally, $25 billion would be allocated for rent relief (including $1.3 billion to New York), but it’s not yet clear how that will be distributed, according to the Washington Post.
The measure would revive the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program for small businesses that expired over the summer. The $284 billion allocation would allow nonprofits and local media to apply for aid, and it would allocate $15 billion to performance venues, independent movie theaters and other cultural institutions devastated by lockdowns.
Still, economists had warned that the size of the stimulus would fall short of the level of assistance needed to support the economic recovery. James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said the same is true for New York in part because local and state governments, which had petitioned the federal government to provide funds to balance their Covid-ravaged budgets, apparently will get nothing in the package.
“State and local aid is needed to account for the ongoing loss of billions in city and state tax revenue that fuels basic government services,” Whalen said in a statement. “More rental assistance is needed to protect residential and commercial tenants and property owners who will still struggle to pay their rent or mortgage over the months to come. More infrastructure and transit funding is needed to help kickstart our economy and create more good jobs for New Yorkers.”
The package included $4 billion for the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to NY1. The agency previously said that without as much as $12 billion in federal aid, it would need to implement fare hikes and massive service cuts. [NYT, WaPo] — Akiko Matsuda