Dems and Trump Reach Deal on $484 Billion Relief Bill; ‘Phase 4’ to Follow
April 21, 2020
by Sean Weiss, Partner & VP of Compliance
Democrats in the Senate now have a mutual understanding with the White House on the bill to refuel the now-empty fund for small businesses that was established by the earlier coronavirus stimulus legislation. The new bill consists of $484 billion in funding, most of which ($322 billion) will go toward replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is the small business loan program.
Separately from the action on Capitol Hill, President Donald J. Trump addressed the issue of large businesses and institutions having received some of the first-wave PPP money. Mr. Trump singled out Harvard University during a press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, saying that he would “request” that the university return $8.6 million in grant funding it received as part of the $2.3 trillion stimulus bill passed last month. “Harvard is going to pay back the money, they shouldn’t be taking it,” Mr. Trump said.
For its part, Harvard says it will keep the money, though it will “direct 100% of the funds to financial assistance to students, and will not be using any of the funds to cover institutional costs” in a statement released after the president’s briefing.
Other provisions and ‘phase 4’
The rest of the package is the same as what was discussed earlier Tuesday – Democrats secured $25 billion for expanded federal coronavirus testing, while hospitals will receive $75 billion to cover the costs of providing coronavirus care and to offset the lost revenue from cancelled and deferred elective procedures. Another $60 billion will go to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which is aimed at bolstering small businesses in underserved areas.
Mr. Trump is expected to sign the final bill as early as Thursday, after the House of Representatives gives the legislation its stamp of approval. The president signaled that he was already looking past the whopping $484 billion package towards “phase 4” of the government’s coronavirus relief effort. That “phase” would include more aid monies aimed directly at states that have borne the brunt of the outbreak in the U.S., including New York, Mr. Trump said during his press briefing, which took place after he met in person with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.
“We mentioned briefly the state aid, and we talked about that, Mr. Cuomo and myself,” Trump said. “I agree with him on that, and I think most Republicans agree, too, and Democrats. And that’s part of Phase 4, and I think infrastructure is going to be a big part — we have to rebuild our country.”
It’s not clear just which large corporations will end up returning federal dollars, or if Harvard will. But it seems there could be severe consequences for those who falsify their attesting or do not return money received if the government backs up Mr. Trump’s statements with legal action. It also seems there could be a new certification process required to obtain monies from the new $484 billion package. Make sure you contact your bank ASAP when they open in the morning and hound them daily to ensure your application for funds is approved!
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