Key Takeaways from $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill That Passed The Senate

WASHINGTON — Over 880 pages of legislation later, and the largest economic relief package in recent memory passed the United States Senate late Wednesday night. The bill, which is expected to be taken up in the House of Representatives as early as Mar. 26, is seeking to provide aid to a plethora of industries that have been impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus(COVID-19).

The bill, which was unanimously passed with a 96-0 vote in the Senate, could be brought up Thursday but will likely not be voted on until Friday. Reuters reported yesterday that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer[D-Md.] “told colleagues in a letter on Wednesday that he was committed to providing 24 hours notice before the House votes on a $2 trillion stimulus bill.”

In it’s current form, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act”, holds a number of pieces that will have an impact on everyday citizens assuming it is passed.

Some of these takeaways currently include:

STIMULUS CHECKS: Under the provisions passed by the Senate, a majority of Americans will be eligible to receive a one-time, tax-free, direct deposit from the U.S. Treasury, of up to $1,200 per adult or $2,400 for joint-fillers. Additionally, the provisions declare an extra $500 will be awarded per child.

UNEMPLOYMENT LOANS: Under the CARES Act, two large loan pools will be created to help businesses that have been effected by COVID-19. The larger of the two pools is a $500 billion loan fund created for larger corporations. The second is over $350 billion in loan availability to aid small business, designed to help assist with a looming unemployment burst.    

ADDITIONAL HOSPITAL FUNDING: Among many pages of the bill, a comprehensive expansion through roughly $130 billion for America’s health system and hospitals were laid out. While there are still mounting concerns nationally with the availability of medical supplies, some are hoping that a large portion of this funding will help expand treatment of patients that may require treatment for COVID-19.

FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN SUSPENSION: Though a number of measures throughout the bill will impact higher education, one that may be pleasant for college-aged borrowers to hear is the suspension of payments for federal student loans through Sept. 30, 2020. Additionally, interest that would have been due during that time “shall not accrue.” The Secretary will notify all borrowers that are effected no later than 15 days after the provisions are enacted.

Obviously, there are a number of provisions that can still be found in the many pages of text that comprise this bill. However, this most recently passed version does not include a number of items that Democratic leadership pushed for after previously voting down the bill, twice. Things such as money that will be assisting the airline industry, unemployment insurance details, and Medicare/Medicaid details are still outlined in the full text.

"Our healthcare workers on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus need our help now, as do American families, workers, and small businesses who are being hit by the economic fallout," Sen. Chris Van Hollen[D-Md.] said in a press release following the vote. "[This] legislation is far from perfect, and I remain disappointed that a number of important provisions were blocked by Senate Republicans. But at this moment of national emergency, this federal response is urgently needed to help America weather the storm, and we will keep fighting for additional measures in the weeks and months to come."

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