The Consolidated Spending Bill and Puerto Rico

The Consolidated Appropriations Bill, the government spending bill for 2021 which includes coronavirus relief, passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Trump.

It includes provisions for Puerto Rico.

In most cases, the bill gives there name of the agency or program and the amount of money that office or program will receive in 2021. The Office of the Chief Economist, for example, gets a certain amount of money, and no states or territories ar4e mentioned. It is understood the the Chief Economist works for the United States, including all its states and territories.

In some cases, such as nutrition assistance funds, Puerto Rico is specifically mentioned.

Puerto Rico is treated differently from states in nutrition assistance programs. There is a cap on spending in Puerto Rico. States receive funds according to the need in each state, so there is more money when there is more need. In Puerto Rico, money for the food stamp program doesn’t increase when more people are in need.

The additional two billion dollars for grants in the territories will therefore be an important source of help.

Division M: Coronavirus relief

Puerto Rico is included in the coronavirus relief section.

Along with some other provisions, Division M includes payments of $600 per person for people earning less than $75,000 per year. President Trump wanted to see this amount increased, and the House of Representatives passed a bill increasing the payment to $2,000. However, Senate leader Mitch McConnell stopped the Senate from approving this change.

Division M gives $300 per week to people on unemployment insurance. It also includes the same PPP payments for  businesses that were in the CARES Act.

All of these provisions are available for Puerto Rico as well as for the states.

The federal government has said that payments to individuals will begin immediately.

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