Senate Passes Stimulus Package with Relief for Businesses, Individuals

Following days of negotiations and failed attempts, the U.S. Senate finally agreed to a $2 trillion stimulus package Wednesday aimed at propping up U.S. households and businesses amid the COVID-19 outbreak. White House and Senate leaders announced an agreement in the morning hours, the Associated Press (AP) reports, as they rush to move the bill through Congress.

Amid the unprecedented impacts of a pandemic that’s keeping American’s out of work and requiring businesses to navigate mandatory shutdowns, the package extends relief in the form of one-time payments to households, expanded unemployment and $367 billion aimed at small businesses to help extend payrolls. The move marks what officials are calling the biggest stimulus package in U.S. history.

While full details have yet to be released, reporting indicates that household aid will be dependent on income, providing direct one-time payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, provided to “low- and middle-income families,” the New York Times reports. Its reporting also indicates that phase outs will begin at income thresholds of $75,000 per year.

Republicans won inclusion of an “employee retention” tax credit that’s estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50% of workers’ paychecks, AP reports. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax. Among the relief aimed at larger industries, hospitals are expected to receive significant aid, but final sticking points in negotiations fell on a $500 billion fund for guaranteed, subsidized loans to be provided for “larger industries,” AP reports, including discussions over how generous stimulus packages should be for airlines.

In all, the resulting package is expected to be larger than those provided to banks in 2008 and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act combined.

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