Late last night, the Senate voted 96-0 to pass the largest emergency aid package in American history to stem the economic damage caused by coronavirus. As you may already know, this is the third relief bill – and the first and second phase bills have already been signed into law by President Trump. This third bill is massive but I want to touch on a couple of important areas.
The bill provides much needed relief for American families. Under this legislation, direct payments will be sent to individuals and families: $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, and $500 per child for those with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of households, and $150,000 for joint filers. Payments are phased out above those thresholds until phased out completely for single taxpayers with incomes exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers.
Furthermore, the bill will significantly boost unemployment insurance benefits, both expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months on top of what state unemployment already provides. This ensures Americans will have four-months’ worth of income if they are furloughed or lose their job due to the pandemic. The bill also creates an employee retention tax credit to incentivize businesses to keep workers on their payroll during the crisis.
This third package also provides unprecedented support for American small businesses. Over $350 billion of emergency relief in the form of federally guaranteed loans will be provided to small businesses that have been forced to close their doors because of coronavirus. Larger and medium-sized businesses will also benefit from a $500 billion corporate liquidity program to be operated by the Federal Reserve. This funding will help businesses keep employees on the payroll so that Americans will have jobs to return to when we reopen the country.
Also contained in the legislation is $100 billion of funding for hospitals and medical providers to continue operations through the pandemic. $16 billion is provided to the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies.
You know that I am a fiscal conservative. It’s one of the reasons you sent me to Washington. I have deep concerns of how this new $2 trillion of federal spending will impact the federal deficit and our national debt. As we wait for the House to vote on this package, I will continue to analyze the legislation. I have come across several concerning provisions that Democrats managed to stick into the bill – which cost the nation precious days while Democrats stalled and played hard-nosed political games. These pet projects have no reasonable rationale for being included in an emergency funding package: $75 million for public broadcasting, $88 million for the Peace Corps, and $25 million for the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, to name a few.
The House is expected to consider this legislation tomorrow morning. To stay informed, I encourage you to follow my social media accounts. It is widely expected that this bill will pass the House and that President Trump will sign it into law. Once enacted, I hope that the critical funding provided in this bill will begin to have an immediate impact on our virus response efforts and the economy.