Congress’ goal is an immediate and lasting impact.
The 883-page CARES Act legislation passed by the Senate and awaiting passage in the House includes thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans and huge loan packages designed to help small businesses and corporations stay afloat.
Here are a few highlights:
Individual Americans will receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200, and married couples $2,400, with an additional $500 per child. The payments will be available for incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. Those whose income derives from non-taxable means, such as Social Security, will also receive the federal dollars.
The 10% early withdrawal penalty for distribution of retirement funds up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related purposes will be waived, retroactive to January 1.
Companies with 500 employees or fewer can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance, and if the funds are used to maintain payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
Extended unemployment insurance expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay. It also extends benefits through December 31 for some eligible workers. This also applies to self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. (This provision caused concerns in Congress that people could be paid more through the added benefits than they would if they returned to work, thus defeating the purpose.)
The legislation provides over $140 billion in appropriations to support the U.S. health system, $100 billion of which will be injected directly into hospitals.
All testing and potential vaccines for COVID-19 will be covered at no cost to patients.
There are also benefits and funds being allocated for large corporate loans, assistance to airlines, including air cargo carriers, state and local governments, and agriculture.
The House of Representatives still has the potential for amending the package, as debate begins. A vote is anticipated on Friday.
As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…
- For members of the House of Representatives as they debate and consider other options for the legislation.
- For all that President Trump and his Administration, the coronavirus Task Force, and Congress are doing to stave off a full-blown economic recession.
Sources: Axios, Wall Street Journal