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Today, after several weeks of negotiations, Congress completed work on a sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package called the American Rescue Plan. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill soon.

The bill provides significant assistance to individual taxpayers, businesses and state and local government. However, despite advocacy from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, the legislation does not extend the application period for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Applications close on March 31, so if your business would like to apply, please contact your financial institution right away to get started.

The new relief package does include an additional $7.25 billion in new funds for the PPP and maintains eligibility for nonprofits, including those that engage in advocacy. It also sends more than $25 billion to the Small Business Administration for a new grant program focused on assisting restaurants and bars, which have been particularly hard hit by government shutdowns.

The bill also extends the $300 unemployment payment increase through Sept. 6, 2021. The first $10,200 in unemployment payments are nontaxable for households with incomes under $150,000. The bill also temporarily expands the child tax credit, increasing it to $3,000 for children ages six to 17 and $3,600 for children under six.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were allotted an additional $7.5 billion to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and a total of $48 billion in new funds will be used toward tracing, testing and distributing more personal protective equipment.

Importantly, state and local governments are set to receive significant funds that should take any remaining pressure off Oregon legislators writing the biannual budget. The state of Oregon is expected to receive  $2.6 billion according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and new funds going to cities and counties will bring the total aid coming to Oregon to about $4.26 billion.

OBI continues to oppose any new taxes or tax increases during this legislative session, and with this influx of federal assistance, arguments to the contrary fall flat.

The package also includes funds for schools, rental assistance programs, low-income families, and direct $1,400 payments to individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000. You can read more information on the bill here.

Get in touch with the OBI team if you have questions or thoughts about the new federal relief package: communications@oregonbusinessindustry.com.