Corona virus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act HR 748

With an estimated $2.2 trillion cost, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act – HR 748 is bigger than the domestic and discretionary portion of the federal budget – and over half the size of the total federal budget. At more than double the cost of both the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the CARES Act dwarfs all other previous disaster recovery or economic stimulus bills in American history.

INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES

  • $1200 checks for individuals making less than $75K
  • $2400 for married couples making less than $150K
  • Additional $500 checks per child
  • Payments phase down for higher incomes:
  • single filers earning more than $99,000 do not qualify
  • head-of-household filers over $146,500 with one child do not qualify
  • Joint filers over $198,000 with no children do not qualify
  • People with very low income who do not pay taxes may not receive checks due to program design
  • Those drawing unemployment will whatever the state normally provides plus an extra $600 a week for up to 4 months
  • Self-employed people, gig economy workers like Uber drivers, and independent contractors like real estate agents are now eligible for unemployment
  • $16B for SNAP and $9B for child nutrition

BUSINESSES

  • $500B in guaranteed, subsidized loans to businesses
  • Payroll retention incentive: tax credit for businesses that meet certain criteria who keep idled workers on the payrolls during the pandemic; refund equal to half of what they spend on wages up to $5K per employee
  • Deferral of the 6.2% tax they pay on wages toward social security, to be repaid two years
  • Retailers, restaurateurs & hotels can immediately deduct from their taxes what they spend on property improvements

HOSPITALS

  • $100B in grants to hospitals replace lost revenue from cancelling elective surgeries
  • 20% increase in medicare payments for treating payments with COVID-19

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  • $9B for Department of Defense
  • $1.5B for the national guard
  • $200M for boosting the FCC’s rural health care initiatives to subsidize connectivity for health care providers
  • $10B loan to USPS, but not a direct appropriation of emergency cash infusion

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

  • $142B for state governments
  • $8B for local governments
  • $400M in grants to states to expand voting by mail

AIRLINES

  • $29B in grants
  • $29B in loans & loan guarantees
  • waiver from paying the three major airline excise taxes (1 – ticket sales, 2 – fuel tax, 3 – cargo tax)

AGRICULTURE

  • $14B for the USDA to use with wide discretion to stabilize the farm economy
  • $9.5B for emergency aid for the ag sector, including ranchers, and fruit and vegetable growers

EDUCATION

  • $30B in emergency funding for colleges and universities, states and school districts

Sources: congress.gov, Politico, Associated Press, NPR, US Sen. Richard Durbin

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