Congress Passes New COVID Relief Package: What it Means for Colorado Life Sciences
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 12/21/2020
Late last night Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus aid package that will provide emergency economic relief and stimulate the nation’s economy. This is the first COVID-19 relief measure that Congress has passed since April. The legislation includes another round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses and additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority (BARDA).
Key provisions in the new bill include:
- $284 billion for a new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses
- Funding for vaccine procurement and distribution and the development of medical countermeasures (details below)
- $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening
- Direct payments of $600 to many Americans
- Enhanced federal unemployment benefits of up to $300 per week
- $25 billion in rental relief and $13 billion in food assistance
- $45 billion for transportation needs
Small Business Assistance
The legislation includes $284 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and creates a second loan called a “PPP second draw” for smaller and harder-hit businesses.
- A second loan is available to small businesses with less than 300 employees that have had a revenue reduction of at least 25% in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 (relative to the same quarter in 2019). The maximum amount for a second loan is $2 million for most businesses, at 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs.
- Covered expenses are expanded to include software, cloud computing resources, human resources, and accounting needs, property damage costs not covered by insurance, supplier costs and purchase of PPE.
- Th bill creates a simplified loan forgiveness application form consisting of a one-page certification, listing the loan amount, number of employees retained, and estimated total spent on payroll
- Loans will be forgiven for small businesses that spend at least 60% of PPP second draw loan on payroll during the covered period. (Borrowers can elect a covered period of 8 or 24 weeks.)
For information and guidance on available small business loans, visit the the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade COVID-19 Resource Center and the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Resource Center.
Additional Funding for Health & Human Services and Related Agencies
The package appropriates significant funding for the Dept. of Health & Human Services and other related agencies, including:
- $8.75 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote, distribute, administer, monitor and track COVID-19 vaccines to ensure broad-based distribution, access, and vaccine coverage. Of this amount, $4.5 billion goes directly to states, localities, and territories
- $1.25 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research and clinical trials related to long-term studies of COVID-19 and for Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx)
- $22.4 billion for testing, contract tracing, and surveillance
- $19 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic development
- $3.25 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile
The COVID-19 relief measures are attached to a larger $1.4 trillion spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 2021.