… individuals, families, small businesses including non-profits eligible for benefits
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the CARES Act (HR..748 passed the U.S. Senate 96-0 just before midnight Wednesday which now go to the U.S. House for approval on Friday before being signed by President Donald J. Trump.
The 2.2 trillion emergency relief bill is set to provide individuals and married couples a one-time non-taxable direct payment of either $1,200 for individuals (with an adjusted gross income under $75,000) and $2,400 for married couples (with an adjusted gross income under $150,000) within three to four weeks of the bill being signed states the White House. Individuals on social security and disability and those who have not paid taxes are still eligible. The cap for individuals is adjusted gross income of $99,000 for an individual and $198,000 for a couple (with the amount adjusted by five dollars for every $100 of income earned.). An additional $500 is given per child.
The 883-page measure (it was 240 pages last weekend before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her 1,540 page version of the bill), the largest historic emergency relief bill in U.S. history also provide $349 billion for business assistance loans which non-profits and churches can qualify for payroll, mortgages/rent, and utilities (with this amount forgiven as a grant instead of as a loan, if employees are retained and not let go).
Another key provision of the Senate bill is $250 billion for an extension of unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks with an extra $600 per week of federal benefits for those unemployed in additional to whatever amount California usually provides unemployment. Independent contractors and those who are self-employed, will for the first time, be eligible for benefits.
Four Republican Senators: Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Tim Scott (R-SC); Ben Sasse (R-NE); ;and Rick Scott (R-FL) have warned that the extra $600/week provision could cause employers to fire employees and all allows workers to earn possibly more than what they would receive in their jobs through regular wages. However, Democrats (including Senator Bernie Sanders, D-VT) spoke strongly against their objections.
The Senate relief bill also does the following:
- $500 billion for corporations to stay in business;
- $240 billion in overall healthcare relief;
- $200 billion for domestic priorities;
- $150 billion for state and local governments;
- $130 billion for small and rural payments; and
- $100 billion for hospitals;
- $45 billion to fund additional relief efforts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for local emergency response and community services;
- $20 billion for healthcare centered on veterans;
- $20 billon for emergency public transportation relief;
- $4.5 billion for the Center for Disease Control;
- A special inspector general will oversee the administration of payments;
- Federal tax deadlines were extended until July 15;
- Student loans will be deferred until the end of September; and
- Real ID deadlines will be extended to September 2021.
The U.S. Senate passed bill may not (We are trying to confirm) include elements that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was trying to insert in the emergency bill such as: mandated nationwide harvest balloting and other vote-by-mail and early voting provisions; federal assistance to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood (going around the current Hyde Amendment which since 1976 has blocked federal funding for abortion services); collective bargaining requirements; new diversity provisions for companies; and Green Deal measures such as solar panel testing requirements, new alternative energy funding and new environmental regulations.
However, the Senate bill does include some House pushed measures such as: $350 million for Migration and Refugee Assistance (up $50 million from the Pelosi House bill); $75 million each for the National Endowment for Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (reduced from $300 million each in Pelosi House bill); $25 million for the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. (reduced from $35 million in the House Pelosi bill) and additional funding for the Public Broadcasting Service and the National Endowment of the Arts.
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Legislation cannot outlaw the coronavirus. No economic policies can end the hardships. This is not a stimulus package but an emergency relief bill.”
Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): This new deal reimburses laid-off workers for their lost salaries and guarantees furloughed workers their full benefits so that businesses can re-open when the coronavirus crisis is over.
Editor’s note: As best as we can determine, this is the BILL which was passed
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].
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Who CARES a shit about obligating future generations?