Congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration are on the verge of finalizing a deal on a nearly $500 billion package to expand funding for an emergency small business lending program (initially in the CARES Act), provide additional funding for hospitals and expand funding for COVID-19 testing.
The full details are a work in progress, but here are some of the items being considered:
- SBA PPP program: $310 billion
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program: $60 billion
- Hospital funding: $75 billion
- Testing funding: $25 billion
This stimulus bill would be the fourth part of a multi-pronged legislative response to the coronavirus.
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, (H.R. 6074) was Congress’ initial response to the coronavirus, an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill designed to treat and prevent the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19. Funding from this initial phase went to the Department of Health and Human Services to develop vaccines and testing kits for local communities, to state and local health departments to be used for staffing increases and additional laboratory equipment, and to the federal government to aid in the international containment of the virus.
The second phase of legislative response, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), focused on targeted relief for both individuals and businesses, as well as an expansion of coverage for COVID-19 testing. H.R. 6201 includes two (2) weeks of qualified sick leave wages for those employees who must self-quarantine or seek treatment due to the virus, employer tax credits for paid sick and paid family and medical leave, guaranteed coverage of testing by public and private payers and additional health provisions regarding Medicare and Medicaid.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), part three of the legislative response, was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act was the largest emergency appropriations package in United States history, allocating approximately $2.2 trillion toward mitigating the negative economic, health, and safety impacts of the pandemic. Under the CARES Act, funds were to be distributed to individuals, families, businesses, public assistance programs, American Indian tribes, and state and local governments.
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