Congress passed a one-day stopgap spending bill Sunday night, so lawmakers have until midnight today (Monday) to finish their work.

The 9-cents-per-barrel oil spill liability tax will get a five-year extension. As with past extensions, it is believed that it will not be retroactive. Other energy credits will get at least one-year extensions. This presumably includes the alternative fuel mixture tax credit for propane used as a transportation fuel and in certain non-road equipment. Solar, wind, and carbon capture and sequestration tax credits were also extended.

The deal is also expected to include the Murkowski-Manchin bipartisan energy bill. No word on whether Congress will provide additional fuel assistance (LIHEAP) but we are doubtful.

$900 billion was approved in new spending and the bill also authorizes spending of $500 billion left unspent in the previous package for a total of $1.4 trillion.

Below are some items included in the bill:

  • Individual payments: A $600 payment to eligible individuals earning less than $75,000 a year. At $75,000, the payment begins to decrease as earnings increase.
  • Unemployment Benefits: A $300 weekly federal payment for recipients of unemployment insurance through March 14, 2021.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine: $20 billion for purchase of vaccines and $8 billion for distribution.
  • PPP Loans: $284 billion additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. Eligibility rules will be revised to include more nonprofits as well as local newspapers and TV & radio broadcasters.
  • Other business loans: Money is set aside for small financial institutions serving minority and low-income communities impacted hardest by the COVID-19 including $15 billion for live venues, movie theaters, museums, and other cultural institutions.
  • Rental assistance: The eviction moratorium has been extended through January 31, 2021 with $25 billion in rental assistance
  • Education: $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including money to make classrooms safer from COVID-19 transmissions with improved ventilation systems.
  • Childcare: $10 billion assistance for parents for childcare and childcare providers.
  • Transportation: $45 billion in transportation-related spending including $16 billion for another round of airline employee and contractor payroll support; $14 billion for transit; $10 billion for highways; $2 billion for intercity buses; $2 billion for airports; and $1 billion for Amtrak.
  • Broadband Expansion: $7 billion to increase broadband access.
  • State and Local Government: $22 billion aid to state/local governments for COVID-19-related healthcare costs including testing and vaccinations.
  • Food Assistance: $13 billion to bolster food stamp benefits by 15%.
  • Tax credits: Extends a payroll tax subsidy for employers offering workers paid sick leave and boosts the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Bill text and official summaries are likely to be released later today.


Megan Diver

Megan has worked in Maine politics for more than ten years and all of her professional career, having served in many roles for elected officials (including former Secretary of State Charlie Summers), in-house with the Maine Association of REALTORS®, legislative specialist at Pierce Atwood LLP providing lobbying services and support to Pierce Atwood’s government relations clients and most recently senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Megan currently is the Vice President at the Maine Energy Marketers Association, utilizing her vast knowledge and legislative experience at the State House to represent MEMA on policies relating to the Association and its members.