Friday, March 20, 2020

Senate Republicans propose $1,200 cash payments in coronavirus economic rescue package

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday unveiled a historic stimulus package that includes direct payments of $1,200 to individuals and assistance to businesses to deal with the health and economic harm from the novel coronavirus.
“We need to have the American people’s backs," said McConnell, R-Ky.
Married couples would be eligible for up to $2,400 in assistance with an additional $500 for every child.
Assistance would begin phasing out for individuals earning at least $75,000 and would not be available to those with adjusted gross incomes above $99,000. Assistance for couples phases out after $150,000 and is not available to those with joint incomes of more than $198,000.
The 247-page bill, which does not yet have a price tag, would also extend the tax filing deadline until July 15. The IRS has already extended the payment deadline until that date.
Small businesses would be eligible to receive a private bank loan equal to four months of their expenses that they wouldn't have to pay back if they stayed open, maintained their workforce and paid their bills.
The government could provide up to $208 billion in collateralized loans to industries hard hit by the outbreak. That includes airlines, which had been hoping for grants instead of loans.
"We are not bailing out the airlines or other industries – period," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
Proposed help for the health care industry includes higher Medicare payments to providers along with measures to spur the hiring of health care workers, manufacture more personal protective equipment, and speed the development of new vaccines and treatments.
McConnell said Republicans would begin discussions with Democrats Friday, along with administration officials.
"We know this legislation will not be the last word," he said. "But we need to take bold action as soon as possible."
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