WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a sweeping $2 trillion bill Wednesday night to provide economic relief to workers and businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic after days of tense negotiations between Senate leadership and the White House.
The House is expected to take up the legislation Friday morning, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law after it is passed.
The bill would be the third emergency coronavirus spending package Congress has advanced and the largest economic aid measure enacted in modern U.S. history. Congress has already approved an $8.3 billion bill for health agencies and a roughly $100 billion bill aimed at providing free coronavirus testing, paid leave for those affected, additional Medicaid funding and food assistance.
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Here's how the third emergency coronavirus bill might help average Americans:
Direct cash payments
Individuals making up to $75,000 a year will receive checks for $1,200. Couples making up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. An additional $500 will be given per child.
Those who file tax returns as "head of household" and earned $112,500 or less will get $1,200.
The payments will decrease for those making more than $75,000, with an income cap of $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples.
The initial Republican proposal would have provided less money to lower-income Americans, but that provision was removed from the current bill; anyone making $75,000 or less is now eligible for the $1,200 direct payment.
The payments will be issued by the IRS through direct deposits and should be in Americans' bank accounts within weeks. But for those who do not have direct deposits set up with the IRS, it could take three to four months for the government to mail checks.
The IRS will use information from 2019 tax returns. For those that have not yet filed, the IRS will use 2018 taxes instead.
The direct payment is not taxable.
Expanded unemployment insurance
The bill increases the maximum state unemployment benefit by $600 per week for up to four months.
Unemployment benefits will also be extended to those who typically do not qualify, such as gig economy workers, furloughed employees and freelancers.
Under the bill, those nearing the end of their unemployment timetable can extend it by 13 weeks.
Small business support
Roughly $350 billion will go toward loans for small businesses.
Companies with fewer than 500 employees could be eligible for up to $10 million in forgivable small-business loans to allow them to keep paying their employees.
Small businesses that maintain payroll will be eligible for assistance for costs such as mortgage interest, rent and utilities.
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Assistance for corporations
The bill provides $500 billion in aid for corporations, such as airline companies, that have been hurt by the outbreak.
Democrats had been concerned that the aid would be used as a "slush fund," with little to no oversight on who got how much money, but provisions were added to help allay those concerns.
As part of the final agreement, the bill prohibits businesses controlled by the president, the vice president, members of Congress and heads of executive departments from receiving the loans.
The bill also establishes an inspector general and a five-person congressional oversight board responsible for selecting and confirming payments to companies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is required to testify about the transactions.
Furthermore, the measure calls for real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations.
Public health funding
The bill gives more than $100 billion in assistance to hospitals, an increase from the Republicans' initial proposal of $15 billion.
Additional funding is also provided for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public transportation agencies and food stamp, child nutrition and other health care-related programs.
Foreclosures and evictions
The bill will place a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
The legislation will provide 60 days of forbearance, or a delay in foreclosure, for borrowers with federally backed mortgage loans, starting that period on March 18. It will allow six months of forbearance for those experiencing economic hardship because of the outbreak.
For those who've taken out federally backed mortgage loans for multifamily properties, the forbearance period will be 90 days. Borrowers receiving forbearance will not be able to evict or charge late fees during that period to tenants who fail to pay rent.
The bill will also prohibit landlords with federally assisted mortgages from initiating any legal action against tenants to recover possession of rental units, fees or other charges related to unpaid rent for 120 days from the date of enactment.
The bill allows students to defer loan payments for six months and keep their Pell grants. Any interest that accrued during that time would be waived.
Students who have to leave school because of the coronavirus will not lose their eligibility for future Pell grants, and the bill allows them to keep any unspent money from Pell grants or loans.
The measure provides about $150 billion in stimulus funds to help state and local governments boost their budgets amid a significant drop-off in tax revenues.