Highlights of Congress' massive virus economic relief plan

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (March 25, 2020) — Partial highlights of a roughly $2.2 trillion package to rush aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. The package, written by Trump administration officials and Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, was released late Wednesday night and unanimously approved by the Senate.

— Loans and guarantees to businesses, state and local governments: $500 billion. Includes up to $50 billion for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo carriers, $17 billion for “businesses critical to maintaining national security.” Companies accepting loans may not repurchase outstanding stock; must maintain their employment levels as of March 13, 2020 “to the extent practicable”; and bar raises for two years to executives earning over $425,000 annually. Companies are not eligible for loans if top administration officials, members of Congress or their families have 20% control.

— Small businesses: Includes $350 billion in loans for companies with 500 employees or fewer, including nonprofits, self-employed people and hotel and restaurant chains with no more than 500 workers per location. Government provides eight weeks of cash assistance through loans to cover payroll, rent and other expenses, much of which would be forgiven if the company retains workers. Also $17 billion to help small businesses repay existing loans; $10 billion for grants up to $10,000 for small businesses to pay operating costs.

— Emergency unemployment insurance: $260 billion. Includes extra 13 weeks of coverage for people who have exhausted existing benefits. Also covers part-time, self-employed, gig economy workers. Weekly benefit increase of up to $600.

— Health care: $150 billion. Includes $100 billion for grants to hospitals, public and nonprofit health organizations and Medicare and Medicaid suppliers.

— Aid to state and local governments: $150 billion, with at least $1.5 billion for smallest states.

— Direct payments to people: One-time payments of $1,200 per adult, $2,400 per couple, $500 per child. Amounts begin phasing out at $75,000 for individuals, $150,000 per couple.

— Tax breaks: Temporarily waives penalties for virus-related early withdrawals and eases required minimum annual disbursements from some retirement accounts; increases deductions for charitable contributions. Employers who pay furloughed workers can get tax credits for some of those payments. Postpones business payments of payroll taxes until 2021 or 2022.

— Department of Homeland Security: $45 billion for a disaster relief fund to reimburse state and local governments for medical response, community services, other safety measures. Extends federal deadline for people getting driver’s licenses with enhanced security features, called REAL ID, from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.

— Education: $31 billion. Includes $13.5 billion for states to distribute to local schools and programs, $14 billion to help universities and colleges.

— Coronavirus treatments: $27 billion for research and development of vaccines and treatments, stockpiling medical supplies.

— Transportation: Includes $25 billion for public transit systems; $10 billion for publicly owned commercial airports, intended to sustain 430,000 transit jobs; $1 billion for Amtrak.

— Veterans: $20 billion, including $16 billion for treating veterans at VA facilities; $3 billion for temporary and mobile facilities.

— Food and agriculture: $15.5 billion for food stamps; $14 billion for supporting farm income and crop prices; $9.5 billion for specific producers including specialty crops, dairy and livestock; $8.8 billion child nutrition. Money for food banks, farmers’ markets.

— Defense: $10.5 billion for Defense Department, including $1.5 billion to nearly triple the 4,300 beds currently in military hospitals; $1.4 billion for states to deploy up to 20,000 members of National Guard for six months; $1 billion under Defense Production Act to help private industry boost production of medical gear. Money cannot be used to build President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along Mexican border.

— Social programs: Includes $3.5 billion in grants for child care and early education programs; $1 billion in grants to help communities address local economic problems; $900 million in heating, cooling aid for low-income families; $750 million for extra staffing for Head Start programs.

— Economic aid to communities: $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants to help state and local governments expand health facilities, child care centers, food banks and senior services; $4 billion in assistance for homeless people; $3 billion for low-income renters; $1.5 billion to help communities rebuild local industries including tourism, industry supply chains, business loans; $300 million for fishing industry.

— Native American communities: $2 billion for health care, equipment schools and other needs.

— Diplomacy: $1.1 billion, including $324 million to evacuate Americans and diplomats overseas; $350 million to help refugees; $258 million in international disaster aid; $88 million for the Peace Corps to evacuate its volunteers abroad.

— Elections: $400 million to help states prepare for 2020 elections with steps including expanded vote by mail, additional polling locations.

— Arts: $150 million for federal grants to state and local arts and humanities programs; $75 million for Corporation for Public Broadcasting; $25 million for Washington, D.C., Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

— Congress: $93 million, including $25 million for the House and $10 million for the smaller Senate for teleworking and other costs; $25 million for cleaning the Capitol and congressional office buildings.

___

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

FEATURED PODCAST

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

If I had to choose one thing I like about the just-passed 'pandemic relief' bill, it would be …

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

US eyes new outbreaks as infections worldwide top 590,000
States impose new restrictions on travelers from New York
No games, big losses: Money crisis faces US Olympic sports
Trump seeks to force General Motors to produce ventilators
MLB final pitch could be closer to Christmas than Halloween
Trump signs $2.2T stimulus after swift congressional votes
Congress locks Trump oversight into $2.2 trillion package

LATEST FROM THE WEB

National Rifle Association blasts L.A. County Sheriff's 'reckless decision' to close down gun shops
Trump defends trip to Va. to see off Navy hospital ship, says he won't be 'jumping around in a huddle'
Hillary Clinton makes joke out of coronavirus: Trump did promise 'America first'
COVID-19 vs. H1N1-09: What a difference a decade can make
The left is loving this

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
MLB final pitch could be closer to Christmas than Halloween

NEW YORK (March 27, 2020) — If the final pitch of the 2020 baseball season comes closer to Christmas than Halloween, that’s fine with the players.