(UnitedVoice.com) – Early Tuesday morning, Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed on a historic $2 trillion rescue bill. The emergency bill will quickly help every worker, business, and the health care system impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the country.
The goal of the bill is to provide reinforcement for the economy until the pandemic is gone, businesses can re-open, and workers can go back to work. This aid could last for weeks or months.
Unemployment Is a Killer
One of the biggest hurdles for America to overcome is the current and projected unemployment claims.
Last week, unemployment claims increased to a dramatic 281,000 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, those were initial numbers posted before companies started laying off or furloughing workers to become compliant with multiple state requests. These requests closed all but life-essential businesses.
Projections for unemployment claims over time are much more staggering. Goldman Sachs predicted that unemployment claims could spike to 2.25 million. The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says unemployment claims could rise as high as 3.4 million.
What Does the Bill Do for Workers, Employers, and the Health Care System?
Over the last couple of days, President Trump has expressed concern and frustration about the halt to business and its potential devastation to workers and families. On Monday, Trump said that we can’t let the cure be worse than the problem. On other occasions, he has made it clear that workers and businesses who need help are not to blame for the current situation.
For workers, the bill will give a one-time direct payment to every adult. Each adult making less than $75,000 per year will receive $1,200. Married couples whose combined income is less than $150,000 will receive $2,400. For every minor child, a $500 payment will be provided.
Additionally, the package will help furloughed workers for four months. They will get the regular payments from their state for unemployment plus an additional $600 per week.
The bill also has something for those who have student loans. Federal student loan payments will be paused through September and are interest-free. The pause would be automatic and there is nothing borrowers would need to do to take advantage of the payment pause.
Regarding businesses, there are benefits for both small and large businesses. Small businesses will be given $350 billion in forgivable loans. Big industries, such as airlines, will have access to $500 billion in loans.
Companies also gain benefits in the form of an “employee retention” tax credit if they keep workers on the payroll and cover 50% of worker’s paychecks. They will also be able to defer the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax payment, but it’s not clear when that payment would be due.
The bill also includes money for hospitals, oversight of industry stabilization funds that will help businesses, and money for states struggling to keep up with the cost of the pandemic.
What Happens When the Rescue Bill Goes to the House?
Once the Senate passes the bill, which could be as early as Wednesday, the bill will move to the House for final passage. Since many House members are not in Washington, they may try to pass the bill using unanimous consent, which could make passage of the bill difficult. It only takes one member of the House to shut the bill down using unanimous consent.
Early this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried to inject a liberal wish list into the Senate bill. Some of the items included parts of the New Green Deal to limit climate change. Pelosi has indicated that the bill is now better than it was earlier in the week and offered her tepid support.
Republicans were deeply unhappy with Pelosi’s interjection into the Senate’s process and said that she and Democrats were using the crisis to jam through unrelated political pork. Trump said Pelosi was trying to include items in the bill that she couldn’t get passed for 10 years and that there was no way he would sign the bill if it were to happen. The Senate did not include her proposals in their bill.
Stay tuned to what the House does because this isn’t over yet.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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