After months of impasse, Congress has finally brokered a deal on a more than $900 billion coronavirus economic relief bill, expected to be passed by the House and Senate on Monday. President Trump is expected to sign it.
The final deal includes $600 stimulus checks for individuals who make $75,000 a year or less, a $300 boost to weekly unemployment insurance, a second round of forgivable loans for small businesses, $25 billion in rental assistance, and targeted aid for schools and struggling public transit systems. Democrats had been hoping to get broader aid for states and local governments that have been struggling with lost revenue, and Republicans had hoped to get liability protections for businesses, but neither measure made it into the final bill.
Economic relief is badly needed; the Labor Department estimates 19 million people are currently on unemployment insurance, and coronavirus cases and deaths in the US are reaching record highs. Emergency use of two different coronavirus vaccines has been authorized by the federal government, but experts say it will be a painful few months until enough Americans are vaccinated to make a measurable difference in daily life.