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Legislative Economic Relief Package

Legislative Economic Relief Package: Phase One, Two, and Three


The economic relief package put in place by the government is an emergency spending package broken up into three phases. As of March 20, 2020, phases one and two have already been implemented over the past couple of weeks. Phase three is expected to be signed into law in the next couple of days. 


Phase one consisted of boosting funding for testing of the virus and reduced costs for related medical treatments. The funding plan addressed coronavirus concerns at the local, state, national, and international levels, and was designated for prevention, preparation, and response efforts. Phase one also ensures that the future vaccination for the virus will be accessible by all Americans regardless of their ability to pay. 


Phase two provided paid sick and family leave for some U.S. workers impacted by the illness, expanded unemployment assistance, included nutrition assistance, and increased resources for testing. The Defense Production Act, which directs private firms to produce the critical goods in response to national emergencies, was also invoked to speed up the production of the critical medical supplies.


Phase three will be occurring within the next couple of days and will be considered the most impactful by the majority of Americans. This bill, also called the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), provides direct cash payments, loan guarantees for impacted businesses and more resources for testing and development of vaccines. 


  • Cash Payments The cash payments would include as much as $1,200 per individual and $2,400 per married couple with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 and $150,000 for joint filers. Those earning over that amount would see their payments reduced by $5 for each $100 in income over that amount. The benefit completely phases out for individuals earning over $99,000 and married couples making more than $198,000. People with incomes under $2,500 would be eligible for $600, or $1,200 for a married couple.


  • Small-Business Loans Businesses with fewer than 500 employees could apply for fee-free loans of up to $10 million that could help cover payroll, employee salaries, mortgages, rent and some other debt obligations. Businesses that retain their employees and payroll levels between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020, would have any of that money used for payments on pre existing debt and payroll forgiven.


  • Industry-Specific Loan Guarantees The bill includes $208 billion in loan guarantees for industries that are hurting because of the coronavirus. This includes up to $50 billion for airlines, $8 billion for cargo carriers and $150 billion for other unnamed businesses.


  • Health Care The bill would require the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize and expedite the review of new drugs. It also includes requirements that insurers pay for COVID-19 testing without a fee for patients; free coverage, without cost sharing, of certain vaccines as they become available; and $1.32 billion in additional funding for community health centers.


  • Student Loans The bill allows for people to postpone payments on federal student loans and allows students whose universities have canceled classes to keep Pell Grants.


Sources: Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three