NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With the deadline quickly approaching, relief for struggling North Texans appears to finally be in sight.
Congress is in the final negotiations on a more than $900 billion COVID relief bill that includes another round of stimulus checks.
The latest change to the proposed relief package took money out for states and local governments and added money for a second round of direct payments.
Stimulus checks will likely be $600 this time - smaller than $1,200 per person most Americans received from the CARES Act.
Direct payments could go out as early as the end of the month if the bill is signed into law by the end of the week.
There is also money in the relief plan to help those who are out of work. An estimated 300,000 Texans are set to lose unemployment benefits by the end of the month. The relief bill includes $300 in added weekly benefits for four months.
Struggling small businesses owners should also be aided by the plan. The proposed relief package includes $300 billion for small businesses that will largely be in the form of Payment Protection Program loans.
After several large corporations received PPP loans in the spring, the smallest of small businesses will be prioritized to receive loans in a second round.
"There are so many businesses that have already closed or are on the verge of closing. If they don't get help over the next three to four months, we could see additional businesses close for good," said SMU economist Bud Weinstein.
The relief package also includes money for vaccine distribution, schools, and rental assistance.
Weinstein said the whole economy needs an infusion of cash and many businesses and families in North Texas cannot afford to wait on Congress much longer.
"I think by the end of the week; Congress will come up with a bill. It will be put on the president's desk. And it will be signed before Christmas," Weinstein said.
Congress has until 12:01 a.m. Saturday to get a deal done unless lawmakers pass another short-term spending patch.
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