By Jonathan Nicholson
The $1.9 trillion coronavirus economic-aid package that’s expected to pass the House on Wednesday includes more money for direct payments to households from the Internal Revenue Service as well as an extension of unemployment programs related to the pandemic.
But it also includes money set aside for specific industries or sectors of the economy. Here are some of the notable targeted provisions:
Airlines: Air carriers and their contractors would get $15 billion for an extension of Payroll Support Program grants meant to keep airlines from laying off personnel. Like the previous rounds of aid, there would be restrictions on layoffs and worker pay cuts, as well as stock dividends and CEO compensation.
Small businesses: The Paycheck Protection Program, the popular initiative that provides forgivable loans to small businesses (500 or fewer employees or who meet a U.S. Small Business Administration alternative-industry size test) would get an extra $7.25 billion. Another kind of small-business support — the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program — would get another $15 billion for low-interest loans and advances aimed at sole proprietorships, independent contractors and cooperatives.
Restaurants: A new SBA program would provide $28.6 billion in assistance for restaurants, bars, food trucks and other food and drink providers through Dec. 31, or a date to be determined by the SBA administrator. That’s up from an initial allocation of $25 billion for the program in an earlier version of the “American Rescue Plan” legislation. About $5 billion of the $25 billion would be set aside to help establishments with gross receipts of $500,000 or less in 2019.
Companies and industries with underfunded pensions: A long-sought provision by Democrats costing $81.5 billion would give underfunded pensions more time to shore up their finances and allow the the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to give grants to underfunded pension plans guaranteed by the PBGC.
Child-care providers: The bill would provide $25 billion to stabilize child-care availability and allow child-care providers to pay personnel and to buy personal protection equipment.
Internet-only news providers: Eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program would be broadened to include any organizations that is an “internet-only news publisher or internet-only periodical publisher, and is engaged in the collection and distribution of local or regional and national news and information.” The outlets could have more than one physical location as long as no single location had more than 500 employees.
Live entertainment venues: The bill would provide an additional $1.25 billion for the SBA’s Shuttered Venues Operators Grants, which provide aid for operators or promoters of live venues, theaters, live performing-arts groups, museums, movie theaters and for talent representatives.
This report was first published on March 8, 2021.