Senators and the White House have reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package to combat economic damages as a result of the COVID-19. The package will send money to individuals, states and businesses that are impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
The package amounts to $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for companies.
This stimulus package is the biggest in American history, is bigger than the United States Federal budget. Administration officials hope that its effects will be even greater than cost, potentially as much as $4 trillion.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and majority leader announced the deal and referred to it as a “wartime level of investment into our nation”.
For families and individuals that have an income of up to $75,000 per year, the stimulus package will provide a one-time $1,200 payment. This payment phases out for those who have a higher annual income and ends for those earning $99,000. Families will also receive an additional $500 per child.
Unemployment benefits are being extended by 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits. According to democrats, this will allow workers to maintain full salaries if they are forced out of work due to the pandemic.
As an added protection for workers, loans for small businesses are only available if they keep their payrolls steady. These loans will be forgiven if they continue to pay their workers through the duration of the crisis.
The loans for big businesses are split into $425 billion to help broad groups and $75 billion for industry-specific loans. After complaints from democrats, strict oversights will be implemented via an inspector general and five-person panel appointed by Congress. On top of this, companies who receive assistance must halt stock buybacks.
The Trump Organization and it’s businesses and senior government officials are blocked from receiving loan money under these programs.
The stimulus package had gone through several rounds of haggling between Steven Mnuchin, the United States Secretary of the Treasury, and Senator Chuck Schumer, a democrat of New York and minority leader. Democrats had blocked the initial package twice while pursuing concessions.
Both Mnuchin and Schumer are happy with how the package has turned out.
“To all Americans I say, ‘Help is on the way’,” Schumer said.
Mnuchin described it as a “terrific bill”.
The bipartisan bill still needs to be voted on by the House, some of whom are sick or quarantined in hopes of avoiding the virus, however they are considering to unanimously vote in favor of the bill.
The legislation is expected to be enacted within days.
Story by: Alex Schilling
Photos Courtesy of: Darren Halstead – Unsplash