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Stocks Rebound After Stimulus Deal Is Passed: Live Market Updates – The New York Times

Stimulus

Small-business owners protest in Los Angeles on Dec. 12. Congress allocated $285 billion for additional loans to help small businesses.
Credit…Ringo Chiu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The pandemic aid bill contains $285 billion for additional loans under the Paycheck Protection Program — the government’s small-business program created under the CARES Act — through March 31, while doing away with the restriction that left more than $100 billion unspent over the summer. The New York Times’s Stacy Cowley reports on what we know based on outlines of the bill circulating among congressional officials on Monday:

  • The new relief bill offers a second cash infusion for those who meet stricter terms: Borrowers with fewer than 300 employees that had a 25 percent drop in sales from a year earlier in at least one quarter could qualify for an additional loan of up to $2 million.

  • Hotels and food-service businesses are eligible for bigger loans this time, up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll. Other borrowers would again be limited to 2.5 times their payroll.

  • Publicly traded companies are ineligible for the new loans, eliminating a provision that provoked a public outcry as deep-pocketed restaurant chains, software companies and drug makers, among others, collected taxpayer-funded loans.

  • The new bill expands the list of expenses that a loan could be used to pay, which previously were limited mostly to payroll, rent and utilities. Businesses could now use the money to buy supplies from their vendors, buy protective equipment for their staff or fix property damage “due to public disturbances,” according to a House Small Business Committee summary.

  • The plan would allow business owners who received loans in the program, which are tax-free, to claim deductions for expenses they paid for with loan proceeds.

  • The bill would also allocate $50 million to the Small Business Administration for audits and other efforts to address fraud in the program, which was a significant problem in the first round of funding.

  • The bill includes other aid measures that are not specifically part of the Paycheck Protection Program but could nonetheless help many small businesses. Those include a $15 billion grant fund for closed theaters, museums, zoos and live event venues, and $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions, which make loans and grants to people and communities that are often unable to get traditional banks to do business with them.

Credit…Robert Neubecker

Another dose of relief is finally on the way for the millions of Americans facing financial distress because of the pandemic.

Congress on Monday night passed an economic relief package that would provide a round of $600 stimulus payments to most Americans and partly restore the enhanced federal unemployment benefit, offering $300 for 11 weeks. The agreement also contains provisions related to student loans, rental assistance and medical bills.

How quickly the money reaches your pocket will depend on several factors, though. The New York Times’s Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber have compiled a list of answers to your questions about pandemic relief, including:

  • Will I receive another stimulus payment?

  • When can I expect to receive my check?

  • How does the aid package affect unemployment insurance?

  • What about relief for housing bills like rent and mortgages?

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