PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been months in the making, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill have finally reached an agreement on the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package.
12 Responds has continuously heard from concerned Rhode Islanders about the COVID-19 relief package, but relief could soon be on the way.
“We do actually have a compromised coronavirus aid bill that’s going to help our small businesses, help our families, help those who are struggling keep their heads above water,” Rep. Jim Langevin said.
Over the last several months, 12 Responds has received a number of questions asking about whether Americans will receive another one-time stimulus payment. Others have expressed concerns about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program coming to an end.
One viewer asked: “Will there be any stimulus or unemployment money for those who have recently lost their benefits?”
Once the bill is passed, it will extend unemployment programs that were created under the CARES Act for more than two months.
“Aid is coming in the form of additional $300 in unemployment assistance,” Langevin explained.
In addition to the extra $300 weekly UI benefits, qualified Americans who make less than $75,000 will receive another one-time stimulus payment, though the amount is cut in half from the previous stimulus check that was delivered in the spring.
“There’s additional funds that are coming their way, with these $600 per person aid payments that will be sent to them very soon,” Langevin said.
Another concerned viewer asked about the eviction moratorium: “Is the eviction date staying the same or will it be extended?”
The bill will extend the federal eviction moratorium through Jan. 31, and the relief package will also provide help with rental assistance. It contains $25 billion in direct rental relief.
Langevin said through the PPP program, the bill also gives aid to small businesses.
“I know there’s so many small businesses that are struggling, to keep their heads above water,” he said.
The continuing distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is also a part of the bill, according to Langevin.
“We are facing a war on two fronts,” he said. “We’re facing the public health crisis because of coronavirus, but we’re also facing an economic crisis because of coronavirus.”
Lawmakers also plan to pass the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, a long-term bill that will be used to fund all the federal government programs through the end of 2021, including an additional submarine program Langevin said he fought for.
“Thousands of Rhode Islanders are employed at the Electric Boat in Quonset building the most sophisticated weapon system ever built,” he said.
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