On March 25th, the Senate passed legislation which includes direct payment to many Americans; $150 billion to help the healthcare industry; $500 billion for state and local governments and companies; and $350 billion in loans and assistance for small businesses.
The 880-page bill was announced early Wednesday morning. It now goes to the House for a vote, and on to the President for his signature.
Here are seven key provisions:
Direct payments to Americans
American taxpayers earning up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, and couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. Beyond those amounts, payments will decrease for individuals earning up to $99,000 and couples earning $198,000. Every child in single- and two-parent households earning less than $198,000 will also receive a $500 payment. The payments will be based on 2019 tax returns – or 2018 if those were the last returns filed – but it is unclear when the payments will start.
The government rebates will be pared by $5 for each $100 of income over those thresholds, completely phasing out for individuals whose incomes exceed $99,000, $146,500 for head of households with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers who don’t have children.
Eligible U.S. residents must have a work-eligible Social Security number to receive such a check and must not be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
The checks will be available to those who have no income as well as people who rely on income benefit programs, such as supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration.
Expanded unemployment insurance
The above direct payments would be in addition to a broad expansion in unemployment benefits, which would be extended to nontraditional employees, including gig workers and freelancers.
The government will provide people who are unemployed with a $600 weekly stipend for up to four months, on top of benefits already provided by states.
Employee retention credit
The bill includes an “employee retention” tax credit that’s estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50% of workers’ paychecks up to $10,000. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax.
$150 billion for health care
The Senate bill allots $150 billion for the health care system and hospitals with $100 billion going directly to hospitals, and the additional funds will go toward supplies, medical research and workforce increases. Some $16 billion is specifically allotted for hospitals to procure supplies like personal protective equipment and ventilators.
Loans to small businesses
At least $360 billion is being allocated to help small businesses and nonprofits. Much of that will go to businesses to pay workers, mortgage interest and rent. Businesses of up to 500 employees are eligible for this assistance.
Loans to state governments and industries
The Treasury Department will create a fund worth $500 billion or more to assist local and state governments and industries hit by the pandemic. The Treasury will also make $46 billion in direct financial assistance, including $25 billion to airlines, $17 billion for national security and $4 billion for cargo carriers.
Oversight of corporate use of funds
Democrats fought for stringent oversight of the Treasury fund, arguing that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could personally benefit from the funds without anyone knowing. The GOP agreed to appoint an inspector general to oversee the fund, and any businesses controlled by Trump, Pence, Mnuchin, or heads of executive departments or their spouses, in-laws or offspring are barred from receiving loans.