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By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- President Trump has signed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, the largest in American history, stating, “I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first.”  The package includes direct payments, loans and grants.

The action comes after the U.S. surpassed China and Italy with the most COVID-19 coronavirus cases of any nation on earth. Worldwide over half a billion people have been infected with the virus. In the US there are over 95,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,450 people have died.

The Senate coronavirus bill will include help for:

  • Health Care Facilities: large investment in hospitals, health systems and state and local governments to give them the resources they desperately need during this emergency. 
  • Workers: large increase in Unemployment Insurance benefits to help laid-off or furloughed workers, including an additional $600 per week in benefits for four months for jobless workers. Additionally, it will extend Unemployment Insurance benefits to those who are self-employed or independent contractors in the "gig" economy.
  • Small Businesses: expansion of fast relief for small businesses; rent, mortgage and utility costs will be eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.  
  • Major industries: Hard-hit industries such as the airlines will receive bail-out funding, with restrictions on how the money can be spent.
  • Students: billions in emergency education funding and elimination of income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer. 

The bill will also include:

  • Cash Payment: $1,200 for individuals who make up to $75,000; $2,400 for married couples who make up to $150,000. Those who make between $75,000 and $99,000 ($150,000 and $198,000 for couples) will be eligible to receive a smaller payment. In addition, families will be eligible to receive $500 per child. This one-time payment will be based on adjusted gross income on 2019 tax returns, or 2018 if not yet filed.

Accountability and Oversight: provisions negotiated by Democrats “prevent secret bailouts and add special oversight requirements to monitor how loans to big businesses are spent,” says Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego).

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