WASHINGTON, D.C. (WEHT) The Senate has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The Bipartisan CARES Act will help stabilize the economy, provide recovery checks and unemployment insurance, support small businesses, and surge funding for hospitals and medical equipment.
The CARES Act Provides Direct Assistance To Families And Workers Through Recovery Checks And Expanded Unemployment Insurance As Well As Relief On Student Loan Payments
- Provides recovery checks to most taxpayers, providing cash immediately to individuals and families. Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child. Even people with no income and or only Social Security income are eligible. So that relief is focused on those who need it most, eligibility for recovery checks is reduced starting at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 in income for joint filers. Individuals with income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with income exceeding $198,000 are ineligible. Eligibility is based on 2019 tax returns, or 2018 returns if the 2019 return has not yet been filed.
- Strengthens and expands unemployment insurance for Americans who cannot work due to the coronavirus. It expands unemployment benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others. The bill provides additional benefits to each recipient of unemployment insurance for up to four months and an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits after state benefits are no longer available. For people who were employed on March 1 and have lost their job due to coronavirus, the bill provides paid leave for them as well. The bill also helps states pay for certain additional unemployment insurance costs.
- Permits students to defer their student loan payments for 6 months and keep their Pell grants.
The CARES Act Provides Crucial Assistance To Small Businesses To Keep Operating And Keep Their Employees
- Provides nearly $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans via the Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
- Allows the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
- Provides $17 billion in small business debt relief by requiring the Small Business Administration to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus.
- Provides $10 billion for expanded eligibility for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including emergency grants, an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations.
The CARES Act Surges Funding To The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Fight: Hospitals And Health Care Providers, The CDC, VA Facilities, FEMA, And Purchases Of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) And Ventilators
- Provides a $340 billion surge in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak. More than 80% of the funding package goes to state and local governments and communities.
- Includes $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers to ensure they receive the support they need for coronavirus-related expenses and lost revenue.
- Includes $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment (PPEs), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts via the Strategic National Stockpile.
- Includes $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other preparedness needs, with at least $3.5 billion of that to advance construction, manufacturing, and purchase of vaccines and therapeutic delivery to the American people. This is in addition to the billions already provided for these activities in the first supplemental.
- Includes $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control.
- Includes $45 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund.
- Includes over $19 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs to support increased demand for health care services at VA facilities and through telehealth, including the purchase of medical equipment and supplies, testing kits, and personal protective equipment. Also enables VA to provide additional support for vulnerable veterans.
The CARES Act Reinforces Health Care Providers, Ensures Free Tests For Patients, Makes Sure Medicare Beneficiaries Can Access Care, And Increases Critical Supplies Of Medical Equipment And Drugs
- Increases the supply of drugs and critical equipment, including ventilators and masks.
- Boosts hiring for coronavirus-related health care jobs.
- Ensures all coronavirus tests are free for patients.
- Speeds the development of new vaccines and treatments.
- Ensures Medicare patients can access treatment for coronavirus by increasing payments for providers, and eliminating charges for an eventual vaccine. It also ensures Medicare Part D beneficiaries access to prescription drugs during the emergency.
The CARES Act Helps Stabilize The Economy And Offers Relief To Businesses As They Keep Employees On Payroll
- Provides $500 billion to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for distressed industries.
- Authorizes the Federal Reserve to provide approximately $4 trillion in direct aid to various industries and local governments.
- Safeguards taxpayers by requiring strict criteria for loans.
- Establishes oversight through an independent Inspector General and Congressional Oversight Panel.
(This story was originally published on March 26, 2020)