White House and Congress reach agreement on $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package
An agreement was reached early Wednesday morning by White House and Senate leaders on a $2 trillion stimulus package to provide relief to a flagging economy impacted by the Coronavirus. The Speaker of the House issued a statement with the following particulars of the deal:
- A large investment in hospitals, health system and state and local governments to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency.
- A massive increase in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers.
- Expansion of fast relief for small businesses, while rent, mortgage and utility costs were made eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
- Billions in emergency education funding, while income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer was eliminated.
- Prevention of secret bailouts and the addition of special oversight requirements.
News outlets report that although full details of the agreement have yet to be hammered out, some specifics have emerged such as
- $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families,
- $350 billion for small business assistance
- $250 billion in unemployment insurance including extending benefits to those who traditionally were not covered such as gig workers, furloughed workers and freelancers, and bolstering benefits by increases payouts for four months
- $500 billion in loans for distressed companies, subject to decisions by an oversight board.
- Individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would receive direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 getting $2,400, and an additional $500 per child. Payments will decrease for individuals making over $75,000, and an income cap was instituted at $99,000 per individual and $198,000 for couples.
- $130 billion for struggling hospitals
- $150 billion for state and local governments under pressure from fighting coronavirus
On two key points of particular importance to tile and stone contractors, Senator Chuck Schumer is assuring American workers that help is imminent. In terms of small businesses, he said in floor remarks today, “They will be getting loans. Their employees will be paid by the federal government while they’re closed because they don’t have customers or services.”
For unemployed workers, he calls this agreement, “unemployment compensation on steroids. Every American worker who is laid off will have their salary remunerated by the federal government so they can pay their bills. And because so many of them will be furloughed rather than fired, if they have benefits, they can continue, and—extremely important—they can stay with the company or small business. And that means that company or small business can reassemble once this awful plague is over and our economy can get going quickly.”