Law & Order

Lawmakers Enact $900 Billion COVID-19 Relief Bill

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus plan following months of contentious debate over the size and scope of the measure. A bipartisan group of lawmakers helped craft the final measure that President Trump signed into law on December 27, 2020. Key provisions include:

Business Aid

  • Revive the PPP program by providing $284 billion for first and second loans. The covered period for all PPP loans was extended to March 31, 2021. For second loans, businesses need to have suffered a 25% revenue loss during the pandemic.
  • Simplify the one-page forgiveness application for loans under $150k, whereby the lender can rely on the borrower’s attestation that the funds were used to pay for authorized expenses (payroll, rent, utilities, etc.).  
  • Allow businesses that have had their PPP loans forgiven to also deduct the costs covered by those loans on their federal tax returns.
  • Expand PPP eligibility for certain nonprofits including 501(c)(6) organizations.
  • Provide $20 billion for targeted grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
  • Repeals a previous provision that required PPP borrowers to deduct their EIDL Advance from their PPP loan forgiveness amount.


  • Renew the employee retention tax credit for businesses that keep workers on their payrolls.
  • Allow 100% deduction of corporate meal expenses on federal taxes through 2022. (Businesses have only been able to deduct 50% since the 1980s.)
  • Extend a variety of expiring tax credits including the 7-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes through December 31, 2025.

Stimulus Checks

  • Provide $600 stimulus checks per person, including adults and children.  The direct payments are phased-out for people who earned between $75,000 and $99,000 in 2019.


  • Extend unemployment benefits up to $300 per week for 11 weeks (December 26 through March 14, 2021). More than 20 million people are estimated to still be on some form of unemployment aid.

Emergency Rental Assistance

  • Provide $25 billion in emergency assistance to renters.
  • Extend by one month a moratorium on evictions, which can be extended further by the Biden administration.

Money for Vaccine Distribution

  • Provide funds to procure vaccines and treatments; expand testing, tracing and mitigation; and for health care and mental health providers.

Other Categories

  • Provide targeted funds for schools, state highways, transit agencies and airports, and health-related expenses of states and local governments.
  • Protect consumers from huge surprise medical bills after receiving treatment from out-of-network providers.

Business Liability Protection, Aid to States

  • Lawmakers failed to include a SEMA-supported provision to provide limited liability protection from COVID-19 related lawsuits. (Many states have enacted such liability protections, including GA, KS, LA, MI, MS, NV, OH, OK, NC, TN, UT, and WY.)  
  • The law also does not provide aid to states and local governments facing budget shortfalls.

For additional information, contact Stuart Gosswein at