- Largest rescue package in US history ready for final vote
- Legislation covers variety of programs including direct payments to Americans, expanded unemployment insurance, aid to large and small businesses and significant funding for health care industry
In the early hours of March 25, an historic economic rescue package in response to the coronavirus pandemic turned into a deal. The remaining dotted “I’s” and crossed” T’s” are scheduled to happen late this afternoon as the Congress takes a final vote to make this package reality.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in the early hours, “This is a wartime level of investment into our nation. The men and women of the greatest country on earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future…”
The Senate is expected to vote on the package later in the day on March 25 and the House has already indicated its intention to quickly approve the deal.
Though specifics of this economic rescue package are not yet public information, here are some of the key provisions of the plan:
- Direct financial assistance to be rushed to Americans via checks to middle and lower income level households. Most Americans are to receive $1,200 among other relief payments.
- Extended unemployment insurance program for laid-off workers for 4 months of “full pay.” The maximum unemployment insurance benefit to be raised to $600/week. This program applies to large and small businesses AND workers who are self-employed AND workers participating in the gig economy.
- More than $150B for health care systems with respective portion of that $150B+ going to hospitals, health systems, research, treatment and personal protective equipment, ventilators masks and gloves.
- $150B to state and local governments
- $350B for small business impacted by COVID-19 in form of loans, some of which may be forgiven.
- Establishes worker protections attached to loans for businesses
Administrative processes will include oversight initiatives that would create a special inspector general from the Treasury Department and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to oversee business loans.
Exclusions among these initiatives include:
- No business controlled by the President, Vice President, Congressional members and heads if executive departments (AND their family members) from participating in loan or investment programs
- Ban of stock buybacks by companies receiving government relief in any form from this package
- Prohibits airlines from using funds for CEO benefits and/or bonuses.
This is the third economic relief package passed by the Congress and signed by the President. The second package passed last week cost an estimated $100B to provide new sick leave benefits and funds to expedite coronavirus testing access.
More to come soon so stay in touch. Many of the elements in this and the prior two relief packages apply to you as do currently passed and/or pending loan packages under the umbrella of the Small Business Administration presented elsewhere on our website.
Thanks to NPR and the New York Times.