Now that President Trump has signed a second coronavirus bill into law this week, Congress is turning its attention to a massive stimulus bill to rejuvenate an economy weakened by the effects of the pandemic.
The latest proposal from the administration carries a $1 trillion price tag. Half will be directed to individuals and families, and the other half will make its way to the business sector to prop up ailing businesses to help keep employees on their payrolls.
As outlined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today, the tentative breakdown of where the money is going looks like this:
- two rounds of cash payments to taxpayers, worth $250 billion each. The first payment would be made April 6, and the second on May 18 if the effects of the pandemic are still being felt.
- the administration is suggesting $1,000 checks sent to every adult and $500 for every child, with up to $3,000 provided for a family of four. According to a U.S. Treasury memo, these payments would be fixed and tiered based on income level and family size.
- $300 billion in small business loans, $50 billion for the airline industry and $150 billion for other “severely distressed” industries. The small business loans would apply to employers with 500 or fewer employees and cover 100% of six weeks of payroll. Businesses must compensate all employees for eight weeks from the time the loan is disbursed in order to qualify.
Negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats will begin immediately, with the goal of bringing a bipartisan bill to the full Senate early next week.
The two political parties are not quite on the same page yet. Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has voiced support for parts of the administration’s proposal as well as some criticism, and added his own list of things he wants to see in a final bill.
One prominent pro-family legislator, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) is calling for a “families first” emphasis when it comes to the billions of dollars being talked about. In a tweet yesterday, he said, “Direct assistance to working people is a good start, but FAMILIES with kids need more relief. A working single mom with three kids needs more support than an unmarried computer programmer living in his parents’ basement. Help families.”
Even before the administration’s stimulus proposal was released, Hawley announced plans to introduce The Emergency Family Relief Act of 2020 which calculates direct payment to families based on IRS calculations of average household expenses, resulting in:
- $1,446 for a family of three
- $1,786 for a family of four
- $2,206 for a family of five
The administration’s proposal looks to be even more generous than what Hawley was proposing. That’s good news for America’s families, but we won’t know more until a final bill is crafted.