Los Angeles, CA — President Donald Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill to help lift the economy and address the coronavirus pandemic. The largest in the United State’s history.
His signature came after the Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the sweeping package by a voice vote earlier in the day, despite a procedural challenge from Republican Representative Thomas Massie, who wanted a formal recorded vote.
The bill had passed the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 96-0 vote.
The package provides roughly $500 billion in loans and other assistance for major companies, including $62 billion for the airline sector, as well as cities and states struggling with virus-related financial burdens.
It includes $350 billion in aid for small businesses and offers $1,200 direct payments to middle- and low-income American adults, plus $500 for each child. Hospitals would receive $117 billion in assistance, as many become overwhelmed with virus patients. Unemployment insurance would also grow to $600 per week, on top of existing state benefits.
The size of the package far surpasses the $800 billion measure signed by former President Barack Obama following the 2008 financial crisis. Combined with Federal Reserve measures, it would provide around $6 trillion in stimulus to the economy, according to chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
Those it has not been made clear exactly how Americans can gain access to the programs available to them, we have the information below.
What is in the legislation?
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-profit group that tracks US budget deficits, scored total spending under the rescue bill at approximately $2.3 trillion.
Here is a look at where most of the money will go, according to the budget watchdog:
$510bn – Lending for large businesses, governments
$377bn – Small business loans and grants
$290bn – Direct payments to most Americans/Individuals
$280bn – Cuts to business taxes
$260bn – Expanded unemployment benefits
$180bn – Funding for hospitals, healthcare
$150bn – Support for state, local governments
$72bn – Transportation, public transit
$42bn – Social safety net, food and housing
$45bn – Federal emergency disaster assistance
$32bn – Increased spending on education
$19bn – Reductions in individual taxes
$25bn – Other spending
Cash payments: Estimated to total $300 billion. Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400.
The checks start to phase down after that and disappear completely for people making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000.
The cash payments are based on either your 2018 or 2019 tax filings. People who receive Social Security benefits but don’t file tax return are still eligible, too. They don’t need to file taxes; their checks will be based on information provided by the Social Security Administration.
Extra unemployment payments: The $260 billion estimated cost is subject to change based on the number of people filing for unemployment.
The bill makes major changes to unemployment assistance, increasing the benefits and broadening who is eligible. States will still continue to pay unemployment to people who qualify. That amount varies state by state. So does the amount of time people are allowed to claim it.
This bill adds $600 per week from the federal government on top of whatever base amount a worker receives from the state. That boosted payment will last for four months.
For example, if an out-of-work person is receiving the national average of about $340 per week, under the new federal program their take-home pay will be $940.
The legislation also adds 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance. People nearing the maximum number of weeks allowed by their state would get an extension. New filers would also be allowed to collect the benefits for the longer period.
Gig workers and freelancers: Typically, self-employed people, freelancers and contractors can’t apply for unemployment. This bill creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year to help people who lose work as a direct result of the public health emergency.
Tax returns: Some people have not filed their 2019 tax returns, but that’s OK. The filing deadline has been extended to July 15. The IRS also says that people who have filed or plan to can still expect to receive a refund if they are owed one.
Student loans: Employers can provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. That means an employer could contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn’t have to include that money as income.
Insurance coverage: The bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine and makes all coronavirus tests free.
The main features for small businesses are emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees. There are also changes to rules for expenses and deductions meant to make it easier for companies to keep employees on the payroll and stay open in the near-term.
Emergency grants: The bill provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
Forgivable loans: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Relief for existing loans: There is $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already using SBA loans.
The bill sets aside roughly $500 billion in loans and other money for big corporations. These companies will have to pay the government back and will be subject to public disclosures and other requirements.
Airlines: About $58 billion is allocated to help airlines stay open. One portion of that money is set aside to help cover employee wages, salaries and benefits divided up as up to $25 billion for passenger air carriers, up to $4 billion for cargo air carriers, and up to $3 billion for airline contractors.
Stock buyback BAN: Any company receiving a loan under the program is barred from making stock buybacks for the term of the loan plus one year.
Reporting requirements: All loans, their terms and any investments or other assistance provided by the government must be publicly disclosed.
Oversight: The bill creates a special inspector general to oversee pandemic recovery. That person, along with a special committee, would provide oversight of all loans and other uses of taxpayer dollars.
No benefit for Trump: The president, vice president, members of the Cabinet and members of Congress are barred from benefiting from the money carved out for corporations. That also extends to the “the spouse, child, son-in-law or daughter-in-law.”
All businesses Tax Credit The bill establishes a fully refundable tax credit for businesses of all size that are closed or distressed to help them keep workers on the payroll. The goal is to get those employees hired back or put on paid furlough to make sure they have jobs to return. The credit covers to 50 percent of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee.
For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, the credit is for wages paid to employees when they are not providing services because of the coronavirus. Eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees could use the deduction even if they aren’t closed.