Help Is On The Way
The United States Government has passed a new stimulus bill that will offer welcome to relief to both small business and individuals struggling due to the coronavirus. The deal, which was announced on March 26th, will pump billions of dollars into the economy and provide additional funding to key government agencies working to contain the crisis.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human services has been issued $6.5 billion that will be divided among its various agencies including the CDC, the FDA, and the National Institute of Health. About half of the money, $3.4 billion in total, was allocated to the Public Health and Social Emergency Fund, which was established in the 1983 to provide relief in the event of a national health crisis. The CDC has been allotted $2.2 billion and the National Institute of Health will receive $836 million.
In addition, the bill provides $1.25 billion in funding for the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. All of that money will be put to work funding global health programs aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by COVID 19.
The stimulus bill has also enabled the Small Business Administration to provide about $7 billion in disaster loans to the floundering private sector and create emergency paid leave programs for workers. Small business with fewer than 500 employees now have to provide as many as 12 weeks of partially paid family leave and two weeks of sick time for both full and part time workers. Those added costs will be covered by a refundable tax credit for employers; those businesses with less than 50 workers are exempt from paid leave requirements.
An additional $349 billion has been allocated for loans to small business, self-employed, individuals and independent contractors to help them cover regular expenses including payroll, rent, and health insurance. Business will be allowed to borrow up to two and half times their average monthly payroll cost and the loans cap off at $10 million. These measures will hopefully encourage business to retain employees during this period of economic stagnation.
Those business that accept relief money will be banned from buying back stock while they are receiving government assistance. Business do not have to provide collateral or personal guarantees in order to take out a loan. The new bill also provides relief for large business including airline companies will, which will receive $58 billion in finical assistance. Under the terms of the bailout the airlines will be prohibited from using the money to buy back stock or issuing bonuses to CEO’s.
The federal government will also be issuing one time recovery checks of $1,200 for individuals with a gross income of up to $75,000 or $112,500 for those who file as the head of a household. That amount increases by $500 for every child listed as a dependent. In addition, a maximum $600 per week unemployment benefit has been established to ensure that laid off workers can receive full pay for up to four months.
Joseph Kuhn is a freelance reporter operating out of Rockland County. A Pearl River native, Joe studied Writing and Political Science at Marist College and his work has appeared in a number of local publications.