March 18, 2021
A Breakdown of Congress’s Latest Relief Package
On March 11, 2020, President Biden signed a third major stimulus package into law, providing much-needed relief to the millions of struggling American families, businesses, as well as state and local governments. Called the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the $1.9 trillion stimulus package provides a third round of direct payments to qualifying individuals and families, extends and replenishes funding for important jobless benefits enacted under the CARES Act last year—including Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)—and bolsters aid for sole proprietors and small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
We are especially grateful for the increase in funding for libraries and the arts, including the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, which will receive $135 million each, and the Institute for Museum and Library Service, which will receive $200 million. The Guild had especially lobbied on behalf of increased funding to libraries, which have suffered billions of dollars in losses, forcing cuts in staffing, purchases, and programming. This new injection of funds will provide fiscal stability to our nation’s most vital cultural agencies—which were often subject to threats of budget cuts under the previous administration and have been facing unique pandemic-related challenges—enabling them to pursue their missions of supporting libraries, museums, organizations, and working artists.
Below is a breakdown of the key provisions of the new package that authors should be aware of. As always, we will continue to update the COVID-19 Resources page on our website with more information about these programs in the coming days as new information becomes available.
Note: The ARP did not extend the application deadline. The Small Business Administration will stop accepting applications for both first- and second-draw PPP loans on March 31, 2020. The Guild and other organizations are working to get this extended and will send out an update if the situation changes.
If you have any questions about benefits under the new relief package or the CARES Act, please reach out to us and be sure to check our COVID-19 Resources page in the coming days for new updates.