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Congress Passes Relief Bill, But For Many Americans It Comes Too Late

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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: The US Capitol in the afternoon before lawmakers vote to pass a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill on December 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. After months of impasse, negotiations came down to the wire as 12 million people are set to lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. (Photo by Cheriss May/Getty Images)

Cheriss May/Getty Images

After seven months since the last coronavirus relief bill, Congress finally passed a new one on Monday. Neither Democrats or Republicans are completely happy with the $900 billion package, but it does provide some relief.

Included in the newest bill are extended unemployment benefits and $600 direct deposit payments to most Americans. But for many people who previously lost their jobs and livelihoods, this relief comes too late. NPR’s Lauren Hodges reports on the millions of people who are have been in financial limbo since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

And the financial impacts of the pandemic have not been felt evenly. Women and communities of color are bearing the greatest burden. NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly spoke with associate professor of economics Michelle Holder of John Jay college at City University of New York, about how industries like retail and hospitality have been disproportionately gutted and when they might return to pre-pandemic levels.

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