Here's a quick look at what's in that $2 trillion stimulus package the U.S. Senate passed shortly before midnight last night and the House is preparing to take up today.
Direct Payments to Individuals:
Single Americans would get $1,200, married couples $2,400 and parents $500 for each child under age 17.
Payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 get nothing. Thresholds double for couples.
More Significant Unemployment Benefits:
Unemployed people would get an extra $600 a week for up to four months. This would be on top of state unemployment benefits to make up for 100 percent of lost wages.
Loans to Industries:
The U.S. Treasury Department is in charge of allocating $500 billion for loans to struggling industries like airlines, as well as cities and states.
$117 Billion for Hospitals:
The bill creates a $100 billion public health and social emergency fund to reimburse providers for expenses and lost revenues related to the coronavirus pandemic. About $65 billion will go to hospitals, with the rest funneled to doctors, nurses, suppliers and others.
They would also get a 20 percent bump in Medicare payments for treating COVID-19 patients.
$58 Billion for Airlines
That breaks down to $29 billion in grants, and $29 billion in loans and loan guarantees, plus a reprieve from paying three of their major excise taxes on the price of a ticket, the fuel tax and a cargo tax. There are caveats, such as no stock buybacks, and limits on executive compensation.
Also, half the funds must be used for “the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits” while the other half would go to loans and loan guarantees for passenger airlines, repair stations and ticket agents — subject to conditions.
There's $25 billion for passenger airlines, $4 billion for cargo airlines, and $3 billion for industry contractors (those who handle catering, baggage, ticketing, and aircraft cleaning).
Business Bonus for Keeping Workers:
Businesses would get a tax credit for keeping idled workers on their payrolls during the pandemic, as long as they meet certain criteria. A refund is available for half of what they spend on wages - up to $5,000 per worker.
Retail and Restaurant Write Off:
Retailers, restaurateurs and hotels will be able to immediately deduct from their taxes what they spend on property improvements.
$200 M Investment for Telemedicine:
This money will be used by the Trump administration to support and broaden Skype-style health checkups by investing in services and devices that help health care providers connect remotely with patients.
Money for State and Local Governments:
$150 billion for state and local governments, with $8 billion specifically to help local governments make up for lost tax revenue as only essential businesses stay open and unemployment claims climb.
Emergency Cash for Schools:
There's more than $30 billion in emergency education funding available for colleges and universities, states and school districts.
Food Stamp Funding:
There's close to $25 billion for food assistance, including nearly $16 billion for SNAP and nearly $9 billion for child nutrition. Food pantries will also see a boost, which will be much needed as they are expected to experience a surge due to mounting job losses.
Farmers and Ranchers:
There's nearly $24 billion available for ag, including $14 billion for an obscure Depression-era financial institution that USDA can use to stabilize the farm economy. Another $9.5 billion will fund emergency aid for cattle ranchers and fresh fruit and vegetable growers.
Department of Defense:
The Defense Department will get $1.2 billion for the National Guard's coronavirus response. Over 10,000 National Guard members have been activated thus far. An additional $1 billion is available for Defense Purchases Act purchases, but the money cannot be transferred for use on the president's border wall.
Student Loan Payments Suspended:
The U.S. Department of Education would suspend payments on student loan borrowers with no penalty through Sept. 30.
The deadline to obtain a REALID - the federally mandated identification required for passengers to board an aircraft - will be extended a year (until at least September 2021).
Distilleries will see a temporary exemption from an excise tax for alcohol they use to make hand sanitizer that’s produced and distributed within FDA guidelines