Mon 21 Dec 2020 1:15 p.m.

Mixed reactions to the new economic stimulus measure

the Room Niagara United States detailed the details of a new coronavirus relief bill that is expected to be approved by Congress this week:

√ Latest COVID relief package is around $900 billion

√ Expands Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and adds PPP expense deductibility

√ Gives businesses experiencing severe revenue reductions the opportunity to apply for a second PPP loan

√ Includes 501(c)(6) organizations such as chambers of commerce, but excludes labor unions from eligibility

√ $15 billion in funding for entertainment venues, movie theaters and museums experiencing significant revenue loss

√ Codifies federal rules that ensure churches and faith-based organizations are eligible for PPP loans

Other provisions of the bill include:

√ $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines that will make them available for free

√ $8 billion for vaccine distribution

√ $20 billion to help states conduct testing

√ Distribution of $20 billion from existing vendor relief fund

√ Ends CARES Act emergency powers for the Federal Reserve

√ Stimulus checks – $600 for adults and dependents

√ Temporarily extends a number of unemployment programs created by the CARES Act that expire on December 31, 2020

√ Provides unemployed workers with an additional $300 per week for 10 weeks from December 26, 2020 to March 14, 2021

√ Extending and phasing out the PUA, which is a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, from March 14 to April 5, 2021

√ $10 billion for daycare grants to help providers reopen safely

√ $4 billion for addiction – significant progress made in recent years on opioid addiction has been reversed due to the impact of COVID-19 related lockdowns

√ $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to help reopen for in-person learning, which also includes $2.75 billion in funding for private K-12 education year

√ $25 billion in temporary and targeted housing assistance for people who have lost their source of income during the pandemic

√ Extends the moratorium on evictions until January 31, 2021

√ $7 billion in broadband financing

√ Increases SNAP benefits by 15% for six months, but does not extend eligibility and requires Secretary to report redemption rate and unspent balances

√ Provides funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program that serves over 700,000 older Americans monthly

√ $13 billion to support farmers and the agricultural sector

√ Enhances assistance under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support producers of specialty crops, non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy and poultry

√ Gives discretion to the secretary to support biofuel producers, producers of organic or value-added products, and timber harvesting and transportation companies

√ Additional funding is for programs that support local producers and beginning and beginning farmers, dairy producers, dairy processors through reimbursement of donated dairy products, fishing, textile mills, agricultural research, dairy processors small and medium meat, and to state departments of agriculture for agricultural stress programs

Mixed reactions

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, said, “The health and lives of the American people are at stake. From education to employment, the pandemic has had a devastating effect on every aspect of the society. It is the role of the federal government to respond to a national emergency, and while imperfect, this bill addresses many of the urgent needs people are facing.

Congressman Chris Jacobs, R-NY-27, said, “After months of deliberation, countless pleas for targeted assistance from my fellow Republicans and myself, and hours of work hard work, we finally passed a bipartisan COVID-19 relief agenda across the House. representatives. This relief was long overdue and I am disappointed with the last minute rushed process that got us here. But I am happy that this much needed help is finally reaching the people of NY-27.

He added: “Notably, this relief includes key provisions that I have strongly advocated for over the past few months, including more relief for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the tax deductibility of expenses covered by PPP loans. For months, $138 billion of suitable funding sat waiting to be used. Now that money and more will be available to millions of small businesses and employees. This aid comes at a critical time when small businesses in New York are facing new restrictions and arbitrary closures. We are also tackling key priorities like funding the safe reopening of our schools, directly helping families in need, supporting farmers, and ensuring Americans receive safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. effective.

Jacobs also noted, “While sadly not included in this package, I remain committed to fighting for local government assistance. There is still work to be done in the new Congress, but this legislation is a major step toward support of the American people and bipartisan cooperation.

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said the relief program was “incomplete.”

“Finally, Congress negotiated an economic relief package, nearly six months after the House version was passed, and it misses the mark terribly,” he said. “While there is no doubt that the families, businesses, schools and other programs that have been part of the relief program all need help, it is impossible to explain why local governments have been left behind. aside – unless you agree it was a ruthless political act.

“As businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, forcing many people to close – perhaps permanently – resulting in layoffs of suffering workers and families to make ends meet, local governments have continued to providing essential services: public safety, public works and sanitation, to name a few. Local governments have been forced to end programs for young people and the elderly due to declining revenues due to shutdowns caused by the pandemic. Public employees remained essential workers to keep city systems running while facing the same risks as all frontline workers.

“Local governments have provided frontline support to their residents and responded to federal and state guidelines in handling the health crisis, and to be overlooked as a critical institution in this relief program is outrageous and shortsighted. . As cities struggle to emerge from the pandemic, more staff and service cuts are becoming the only method Congress has given us to avoid tax increases to maintain services – increases that will further impact working families that Congress claims to care about.

“While we know there are members of Congress who understand the plight of local governments, it is unfortunate that the voice of local governments has been ignored. It is not enough to suggest that this is just a “start” or a “first installment” and that “the new administration and Congress know they need to do more.” These promises carry as much hope as the comments of the past six months that “something has to be done”. Ultimately, local economies will continue to suffer if local governments continue to be ignored.

Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said, “On behalf of the hospitality industry, we applaud House and Senate leaders, as well as the administration, for reaching a bipartisan compromise on this COVID economic relief package. This short-term relief program is an essential step in helping the hospitality industry survive this crisis. The proposed measure provides temporary relief over the next few months and will help thousands of hotels stay open and retain their employees.

“For months, the hospitality industry has been pleading with lawmakers to help the people and industries most affected by this crisis. After more than 250,000 individual actions taken by AHLA members, we are thrilled to finally see a long-awaited agreement.

“The legislation contains many of the provisions advocated by AHLA, including a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, increasing the size of PPP loans to 3.5 times payroll, and tax deductibility of PPP loan expenditures. This will provide an essential lifeline for hotels and other businesses that have been decimated by the pandemic. Other priorities for the hospitality industry include a one-year extension of Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) relief so banks can continue to work with borrowers to secure forbearance and debt relief. additional debt, the deductibility of business meals through 2022, and an expanded tax credit for employee retention.

“We look forward to working with Congress and the new administration on a longer-term recovery plan that will ensure the survival of our industry and be well-positioned to help the country recover economically once the public health threat threatens. will have disappeared.”

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, said: “While we appreciate the difficulty of reaching a bipartisan compromise, we are disappointed that Congress has not could not reach an agreement acknowledging the dire situation our long-term care residents and staff are facing at this time. Due to growing community spread, nursing homes are seeing record numbers of cases and deaths — worse than in the spring. Even with a vaccine on the way, it will likely take months to fully vaccinate our residents and staff, as well as the rest of the public. Facilities won’t be able to return to normal for some time, which means suppliers need ongoing support with PPE, testing and staffing.

“Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of long-term care facilities are operating at a loss, and the additional funding provided for the Provider Relief Fund for all healthcare providers in this legislation is minimal. Hundreds of establishments risk closing their doors permanently and uprooting the frail elderly people they care for. Congress needs to do more in the new year by directing specific aid toward long-term care. We owe it to our nation’s seniors and our healthcare heroes.