The unprecedented stimulus bill approved unanimously by the Senate has an estimated $2 trillion price tag that backers hope will lessen the coronavirus pandemic’s human and economic toll, according to CNBC.
The chamber passed the legislation Wednesday (March 25) night as workers face widespread layoffs, hospitals and states starve for resources and businesses small and large worry about their survival. The House aims to pass it by Friday.
The bill, designed to offer relief to individuals, the health-care system and even an entire corporate sector ravaged by the outbreak, would:
- Give direct payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child, based on 2019 tax returns for those who filed them and 2018 information if they have not. The benefit would start to phase out above $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 for couples, going away completely at the $99,000 and $198,000 thresholds, respectively.
- Boost unemployment insurance, adding $600 per week for up to four months on top of what beneficiaries normally receive from states. It expands eligibility to self-employed people and independent contractors.
- Create a $500 billion pool of taxpayer money to make loans, loan guarantees or investments to or in businesses, states and municipalities damaged by the crisis.
- Give $25 billion in grants to airlines and $4 billion to cargo carriers to be used exclusively to pay employee wages, salaries and benefits, and set aside another $25 billion and $4 billion, respectively, for loans and loan guarantees.
- Provide $17 billion in loans and loan guarantees for unspecified “businesses critical to maintaining national security.”
- Put $117 billion into hospitals and veterans’ health care.
- Provide $16 billion for the strategic national stockpile of pharmaceutical and medical supplies.
- Give $350 billion in loans for small businesses to cover salary, wages and benefits, worth 250% of an employer’s monthly payroll, with a maximum loan of $10 million.
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