Soto Votes to Pass Emergency COVID Relief Bill

December 21, 2020
Press Release
Legislation Provides $900 Billion in Urgent Coronavirus Relief

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) voted to pass $900 billion in emergency coronavirus relief included in the omnibus spending bill. 

“Central Floridians have been desperate for help,” said Congressman Soto. With the holidays around the corner, this bipartisan, bicameral relief package will help meet our community's needs through this dark winter. This compromise package includes funding for vaccine distribution, stimulus payments, extended unemployment benefits, relief for small businesses and housing, food and school assistance. Together, with the distribution of lifesaving vaccines, this temporary relief will help us control the virus, save lives and support our communities. Help and hope are on the way to Central Florida!” 

The provisions secured by House Democrats include funding for :

  • Accelerated Vaccine Distribution: Democrats secured billions in urgently needed funds to accelerate the free and equitable distribution of safe vaccines to as many Americans as possible. 

  • Stimulus Payments: Democrats secured another round of direct payments worth up to $600 per adult or child. 

  • Extended Unemployment Benefits: Democrats averted the sudden expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits for millions and added a $300 per week UI and lengthened the number of weeks an unemployed worker can receive benefits by 11 weeks.

  • Housing Assistance: Democrats secured emergency rental assistance and an eviction moratorium

  • Food Assistance: Democrats secured a 15 percent increase to SNAP and boosted child nutrition benefits to help relieve the historic hunger crisis that has left up to 17 million children food insecure. 

  • Relief for Small Businesses: Democrats secured critical funding and policy changes to help small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, and nonprofits recover from the pandemic. The agreement includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, and includes $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. The agreement also includes $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grantswhich are critical to many smaller businesses on Main Street.

  • Key Tax Benefits for Struggling Families: The agreement helps ensure that families who faced unemployment or reduced wages during the pandemic are able to receive a strong tax credit based on their 2019 income, preserving these vital income supports for vulnerable families. 

  • Help for Education, Child Care & Students: The agreement provides $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including support for HVAC repair and replacement to mitigate virus transmission and reopen classrooms, and $10 billion for child care assistance to help get parents back to work and keep child care providers open.

  • Strengthens the Low Income Housing Tax Credit: The package enhances the LIHTC to help increase affordable housing construction and provide greater certainty to new and ongoing affordable housing projects. 

  • Assistance for State/Local/Tribal/Territorial Governments:The agreement includes $22 billion for the health-related expenses of state, local, tribal and territorial government and an additional year of eligibility for costs under the CARES Coronavirus Relief Fund.

  • Paid Sick Leave: The agreement provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the Families First framework.

  • Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions: The agreement includes dedicated PPPset-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs); $9 billion in emergency U.S. Treasury capital investments in CDFIs and MDIs to support lending in low-income and underserved communities, including persistent poverty counties, that may be disproportionately impacted by the economic effects of the COVID–19 pandemic; and $3 billion in emergency support for CDFIs through the CDFI Fund to respond to the economic impact of the pandemic on underserved low-income and minority communities. 

  • Affordable Broadband Access: The agreement invests $7 billion to increase broadband access. 

  • Global Health: Democrats secured an additional $3.36 billion for a total of $4 billion for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance, recognizing that we are not truly safe until the whole world is safe from the coronavirus.

“Our work does not end here,” said Congressman Soto. “I have full faith that the incoming Biden Administration will work with the Congress to pass further relief for families in Central Florida and across America.” 

A video of Congressman Soto urging his colleagues to pass a bipartisan relief package can be found here


A detailed summary of COVID-19 relief provisions can be found here.