President Trump Signs Third Piece of Legislation Combating COVID-19

After 4.5 hours of debate, the House unanimously passed COVID #3/H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) by voice vote.

Moments ago, President Trump signed H.R.748 into law, Public Law No: 116-136.

The provisions included in the CARES Act are as follows:

$150 billion for State and Local Governments

  • Not included in any previous iteration, this money would create a Coronavirus Relief fund for state, local, and tribal governments to deal with anticipated budget shortfalls due to expenses for responding to the virus, and a decline in tax revenue.

$130 billion for Hospitals and the Healthcare System

  • Democrats secured an additional $55 billion towards their “Marshall Plan” for the healthcare system, a priority for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). This money would go to hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid enrolled providers, and not-for-profit entities, among others, combating the virus to cover increasing costs as the number of cases soars.

$16 billion to Replenish the Strategic National Stockpile

  • These funds, which are included in the $130 billion for the health system, would replenish national stockpile supplies of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies to be distributed around the country to hospitals and healthcare entities facing shortages. 

$260 billion for Expanding Unemployment Insurance benefits

  • A sticking point for Democrats, they were able to secure 4 months of increased unemployment benefits offered through existing state-based unemployment systems.

$45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund

  • This money would provide financial assistance to state and local governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services. 

$30 billion in Emergency Education Funding

  • This money would provide emergency support to school systems and higher education institutions to help them remain functional and effective in remote learning. 
  • This bill also would eliminate income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer.

Tweaks to Loan Program Administered through the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF)

  • Democrats secured direct payroll payments to the airline industry, which will keep airline workers paid and prevent layoffs.
  • Required real-time public reporting of all actions taken by Treasury to administer the fund.
  • Prohibition on businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments getting loans or investments from Treasury programs like the ESF.

Small Business Loans

  • $377 billion, up from $349, is allocated in small business loans for the use of maintaining payroll, providing paid leave, rent and mortgage payments, and utility payments. Loans remain capped at $10 million and would be completely forgiven if they are used for the permitted items previously listed. Democrats secured two additional provisions for small business listed below:
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.

One-time Tax Rebates

  • Direct payments, starting at $1200 for individuals, $2400 for joint filers, and $500 for children, would be made to all taxpayers who meet the income eligibility thresholds. Eligibility is capped at $100,000 for individuals, $200,000 for joint filers, and the rebate check value starts to phase out income above $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers. Lower-income households would get the same $1200 credit regardless of tax liability, and rebates will be based on 2019 tax returns if those have been filed.

Enhanced Unemployment Insurance

  • Increased funding for state-based unemployment insurance systems would offer an additional $600 in benefits a week for 16 weeks, up from 12, for those who lose jobs as a result of the outbreak. The updated bill also includes an additional 13 weeks of available benefits following the exhaustion of state unemployment compensation.

Supplemental Appropriations

  • A growing section of COVID #3, these appropriations include:
  • $150 billion for state and local governments
  • $130 billion for hospitals, the healthcare system and public health
  • $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund
  • $30 billion in emergency education funding
  • $25 billion in emergency funding for public transit agencies
  • $10 billion for the Indian Health Services

Now that the CARES Act has been signed into law, conversations about a fourth COVID bill are on hold.

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