Afloat COVID-19 vaccine reports and President Biden’s ambitious $1.9 trillion stimulus package; Congressmember Karen Bass organized a telephone town hall 24 hours after The House voted 220-211 to pass the new relief bill.
The previous town hall Bass conducted was preceded during the aftermath of the infamous 2021 Breach at the United States Capitol—early January. In retrospect, the right-wing attack against members of congress ended with 5 people dead, and 2 related suicides.
“I was in the gallery right before things were happening, and I was very lucky because I left about 10 minutes before everything broke out,” said Bass as she makes her opening comments. According to Bass, “If I had waited another 10 minutes, I literally would have walked into the insurrectionist in the hall, and who knows what would have happened—considering they were all hunting members of congress.”
Despite politics obvious contentions, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), persisted as the primary focus of the Thursday evening town hall. Speakers such as, California State Senator Sydney Kamlager and District Director of SBA Los Angeles District Office Ben Raju compressed the relatively tall piece of legislature to key “highlights,” as well as announced notable “changes and provisions the bill will provide.”
In what Congressmember Bass described as “a really big deal,” families with children received some good news due to the changes in the Child Tax Credit. Under the American Rescue Plan, taxpayers can claim a credit of up to $3,600 per child under the age of 6 and up to $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. The Child Tax Credit has the potential “to cut child poverty in half,” said Congresswoman Bass. “One of the reasons we did this is because we would love to make it permanent.”
California’s newest State Senator, Sydney Kamlager-Dove announced that the “[The] Employment Development Department (EDD) has [added] up to 11 weeks of benefits to PUA or PEUC claims,” as well as allow for tax exemption for the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020.
Before long, the APR will provide a third round of stimulus payments, which up to $1400 will be directly deposited in the bank accounts of adults or any dependents. However, “be careful” when filing taxes due to potential ineligibility issues regarding stimulus checks. Congressmember Bass advised, “If your 2020 tax data is going to make you ineligible for these payments, be careful [and] wait to file [taxes] until April, and the IRS will look at your data based on 2019 [tax return].”
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently offering PPP loans until March 31, 2021, and this includes expanding eligibility to nonprofits and digital needs services, which was not available before. Since funding closed in August, according to Ben Raju, “Over $7.25 billion [will be added to the] Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),” as well as an additional $15 billion for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL).
EIDLs can reach $2 million with the $10,000 EIDL advance automatically forgiven; and PPP loans can reach up to $10 million and are 100% forgivable if the borrower follows loan forgiveness rules laid out by the SBA. To qualify for forgiveness, you must spend at least 60% of the loan on payroll expenses and use a portion of the loan to cover mortgage, rent, or utility expenses.
Californians will also receive additional economic benefits from the newly passed a budget called the “Golden State Stimulus,” which will act “very similar to what’s happening at the federal level,” according to Senator Kamlager-Dove. “We are now going to be sending out $600 or $1200—onetime payment to Californians who have faced hardships because of COVID-19.” To qualify, Byou must be 18 years or older as of the last date of the tax year, 2020 taxes must be filed, and be a CalEITC recipient, or have filed for ITIN making $75,000 or less.