Early in the morning of March 25, 2020, federal lawmakers announced a $2 trillion stimulus package to address economic concerns arising out of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The legislation is the third piece of legislation aimed at addressing financial issues resulting from the crisis, following an $8.3 billion economic relief package for emergency services, and a second bill which provided for Paid Sick Leave, Paid Virus Testing, Enhanced Unemployment support, and Food Assistance to the various states.
The $2 trillion package offers a variety of relief to both individuals and businesses alike:
A $500 billion fund will be created to assist distressed businesses:
- $425 billion will go to the Federal Reserve to leverage loans to a broad swath of large corporations;
- $75 billion is dedicated to industry-specific loans;
- Access to these funds is overseen by an Inspector General along with a 5-person panel appointed by Congress;
- Businesses which seek access to these funds must agree to halt any stock buybacks for the duration of the government assistance, plus one year.
- $130 billion is being directed toward assisting hospitals;
- $150 billion is being directed toward state and local governments;
- $350 billion will be used to establish a lending program for small businesses, but only for those which keep their payrolls steady throughout the crisis;
- The remainder of the package is aimed at assisting individuals directly:
- Workers making less than $75,000 per year will receive a direct payment totaling $1,200; this amount will be phased out, with a cap of $99,000;
- Families will receive an additional $500 per child;
- Unemployment benefits will be extended by 13 weeks, along with a four-month enhancement of benefits. Lawmakers believe that it will permit most workers to maintain close to their full salary during this time.
Integral to the Democrats’ efforts was a provision which prohibits any businesses owned by President Trump, and those of other senior government officials, from receiving benefits from this stimulus package.