1.15.21 – CI .
President-elect Joe Biden Thursday detailed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which includes more help for struggling small businesses.
Biden, who will take office Jan. 20, proposed the package Thursday as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to climb, breaking previous records almost daily. The package also comes as the U.S. continues the early stages of a vaccine rollout that Biden has pledged to accelerate once he takes office.
For small businesses, Biden’s program calls for an additional $15 billion in grants for small businesses, creating a new program separate from the existing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that Congress reinvigorated earlier this month. Applications for new loans through that program opened this week.
The PPP has been a popular program, providing small businesses with forgivable loans designed to keep employees on the payroll and avoid layoffs or furloughs.
Many smaller AV integrators have said they made use of the funds and said the application process was nearly seamless.
According to CNN’s reporting, the plan also calls for $35 billion in state, local, tribal and non-profit financing programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.
The pro AV industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and unfortunately some companies have had to layoff employees.
However, Biden’s proposed package includes more relief for them, including another $1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, boosting federal unemployment insurance to $400 from $300, providing $25 billion for rental assistance, an expansion of the federal eviction moratorium until the end of September, expansion of child care and tax credits, subsidies for health insurance premiums and other measures.
The plan also calls for $20 billion for a national vaccination program, including setting up community vaccination center around the country.
Biden also wants to invest $50 billion in testing for schools and fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers. A widely available vaccine will help reduce the level of infections and help the economy open up again, which will be key for AV integrators that depend on a healthy economy for business.
These measures still have to be passed by Congress, and Biden has said he wants that to happen by the end of this month. Look for the Legislature to act quickly once Biden takes office.
Zachary Comeau comes from a journalism background with more than 8 years of experience writing for several daily newspapers and industry trade publications in Massachusetts. He joined Commercial Integrator in October 2019.