Both houses of Congress finally reached an agreement for a $900 billion stimulus deal on Sunday, allowing for a potential sigh of relief for millions of Americans across the country who have been waiting for more financial support from the Federal Government over the summer and fall months. The bill, which will likely receive a final vote on Monday before going to President Trump to sign into law, will also include $15 billion in aid meant for “Live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions,” according to an email from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The announcement on Sunday comes as the culmination of months of lobbying and fundraising by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) as 2,800 of its member venues remain shuttered, many of them closed since the initial March shutdown. This latest development comes almost three months after the provisions of the Save Our Stages Act were added to the proposed Heroes Act presented in the House of Representatives.
The exact language of the relief package has not been released yet, and the House is expected to vote on it on Monday with the Senate following soon after. Under the originally proposed Save Our Stages Act, venues will be able to apply for grants of up to $12 million, as well as a second grant equal to 50% of the initial grant. Those funds—which will be in the form of a grant that does not need to be repaid rather than a loan—can only be used to cover operating costs like rent, utilities, payroll, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), and social distancing measures.
“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill,” says Dayna Frank, owner and chief executive of First Avenue Productions and president of NIVA. “We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”
In addition to the aid for venues, the new relief package will also include a $600 stimulus check sent to every adult and an additional $600 for each of their dependents. The total $900 billion stimulus effort will also include $300 a week in unemployment insurance for those out of work including over 100,000 music industry professionals. Scroll down for a summary of the package from Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
This is how Pelosi and Schumer explain what’s in the $900 billion relief proposal. Bill text has yet to be released pic.twitter.com/hzcOgxBJji
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 21, 2020
This is a developing story
[H/T Consequence of Sound]