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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

One sign that the stimulus has partially sidelined America's central bank is the way in which the government is taking over some of the crisis lending functions that until recently were the remit of the Federal Reserve.

How it works: The American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), allowing states to lend 10 times that amount to small businesses.

  • The SSBCI lending comes on top of the $12 billion that was earmarked in the December stimulus for community development credit unions and other minority-focused financial institutions. That money, too, will end up being multiplied many times over.

The big picture: By giving the money out directly to states and financial institutions, rather than backstopping lending facilities at the Federal Reserve, the most recent stimulus bills keep the Fed at arm's length from the rest of the government.

  • It's a stark contrast with the close working relationship that former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin first initiated and then ended under former President Trump.

Between the lines: While the Fed might not make private-sector loans any more, it's still spending $120 billion per month buying up Treasury bonds and government-backed housing bonds. That's a lot of money, but it doesn't even cover the previous deficit, let alone the $1.9 trillion that the new stimulus act is going to cost.

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.