03/23/2020 | Press release | Archived content
LAST WEEK, PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED AN ECONOMIC RELIEF BILL FOR AMERICANS MOST IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS
On March 18, President Trump signed an economic relief package that expanded Medicaid, guaranteed free testing, and provided additional protections to health care workers in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The bill also included an unprecedented expansion of paid sick leave, providing two weeks of paid leave to 65 million Americans who work for firms with less than 500 employees, 2.9 million federal employees and 9.5 million self-employed Americans.
Between the new law and commitments from major employers, more than 60% of the private workforce has access to paid sick leave during the crisis.
In response to widespread school closures, the bill creates an emergency paid leave program that pays up to $200 per day to parents who must stay home and care for a child due to the closures.
IN CONGRESS, SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE WORKING TO DELIVER RELIEF DIRECTLY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND STRUGGLING INDUSTRIES WHILE DEMOCRATS ARE PLAYING PARTISAN POLITICS
The current Senate proposal in Congress to address the coronavirus would include giving cash payments of up to $1,200 directly to poor and middle-class Americans.
The proposal also includes $300 billion for loan guarantees for small businesses, offering up to $10 million per business in fee-free loans. If the business retains all employees at their current pay rate, the loans would be forgiven .
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has worked closely with Democrats to negotiate a bipartisan proposal but despite Republicans negotiating in good faith , Democrats blocked even a procedural vote to advance the bill last night.
This move came just hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that, even though she was involved in negotiations with Senate Leadership over the current bill, the House would introduce its own bill, a move that could 'significantly draw out the process.'
LAST WEEK, PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED AN ECONOMIC RELIEF BILL AIMED AT HELPING WORKERS AND FAMILIES MOST IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS
On March 18, 2020, President Trump Signed An Economic Relief Package That Expanded Medicaid And Provided Free Testing In Response To The Coronavirus Outbreak
On March 19, 2020, The President Signed A Coronavirus Relief Bill That Provides Sick Leave, Free Coronavirus Testing, Expands Food Assistance And Unemployment Benefits And Requires Employers To Provide Additional Protections For Healthcare Workers. 'This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.' ( Congress.gov , Accessed 03/19/20)
The Bill Also Requires The Occupational Safety And Health Administration To Issue An Emergency Temporary Standard That Requires Certain Employers To Develop And Implement A Comprehensive Infectious Disease Exposure Control Plan. 'In addition, the bill requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard that requires certain employers to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect health care workers.' ( Congress.gov , Accessed 03/19/20)
$60 Million Will Go To The Department Of Veterans Affairs For Testing Veterans, $64 Million To The Indian Health Service For Testing Members Of Native American Tribes. 'An additional $60 million will go to the Department of Veterans Affairs for testing veterans, $64 million to the Indian Health Service for testing members of Native American tribes and $1 billion to the National Disaster Medical System for reimbursing testing costs for those without health insurance.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
The Bill Also Includes A Temporary 6.2% Increase In Federal Payments To Medicaid For States. 'Additionally, it includes a temporary 6.2% increase in federal payments to Medicaid for states.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
The Coronavirus Relief Bill Also Provides An Unprecedented Expansion Of Paid Sick Leave, Between The New Law And Commitments From Major Corporations, More Than 60% Of The Private Workforce Has Access To Paid Leave During The Crisis
The Bill Provides 10 Days Of Paid Sick Leave To Be Available Immediately During The Coronavirus For Those Ill Or Impacted By The Quarantine. 'Emergency paid sick days: The bill would give workers  days of paid sick leave to be available immediately during the coronavirus (many employers are asking employees to work from home for that amount of time). It ensures sick leave to [those who are ill or] impacted by quarantine orders [depending on the business they work at.]' ( Vox , 3/18/20)
All Federal Government Employees, Gig Economy Workers, And Self-Employed Workers Are Covered By This Guarantee. 'Workers who are covered by the guarantee of 10 paid sick days during this outbreak include all federal government employees, gig economy workers, and self-employed workers.' ( Vox , 3/18/20)
The Bill Requires Employers With Fewer Than 500 Employees To Provide Two Weeks Worth Of Paid Sick Leave For Employees Unable To Work; It Also Mandates That Employers Cannot Require Employees To Use Other Paid Time Off Or Find A Replacement To Cover The Work They Miss. 'It requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks' worth of paid sick leave if employees are unable to work because they're subject to quarantine or isolation, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are caring for someone who is in quarantine or isolation and/or have children in schools that have closed. Employers themselves will receive tax credits to offset the costs of providing this paid leave. Under the legislation, an employer cannot require employees to find a replacement worker for themselves or require them to use other paid time off.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
Many Large Companies Have Committed To Paid Leave For Their Employees; Some Of The Large Businesses That Made This Pledge Employ More Than 5.5 Million U.S. Workers. ( The Washington Post , 10/10/20)
129.7 Million Americans Are Employed In The Private Sector. ( Bureau Of Labor Statistics , Accessed 3/21/20)
In Response To Widespread School Closures, The Bill Creates An Emergency Paid Leave Program That Pays Up To $200 To Parents Who Must Stay Home And Care For A Child During School Closings
The Bill Would Create A New Federal Emergency Paid Leave Program For Those Caring For A Child Due To Coronavirus-Related School Closings Who Aren't Receiving Pay Or Unemployment Compensation Directly Through Their Employers. 'The bill would create a new federal emergency paid leave program for those ... caring for a child due to coronavirus-related school closings. Eligible workers would receive benefits for a month (the program goes up to three months), and the benefit amount would be two-thirds of the individual's average monthly earnings. Those receiving pay or unemployment compensation directly through their employers aren't eligible.' ( Vox , 3/18/20)
At Least 70% Of U.S. Schools Have Shut Down And A 'Chorus Of Prominent Voices Calling To Close The Rest.' 'With at least 70% of America's schools shutting down and a chorus of prominent voices calling to close the rest, millions of parents entered a strange new reality this week: attempting to manage their children's education from the confines of home.' ( USA Today , 3/17/20)
For Parents, A School Closure Can Mean Taking Time Off Work To Care For Kids, However Many Jobs Don't Offer Paid Time Off And Working From Home Is Not A Possibility For Some Parents, Many Jobs Can't Be Done Remotely. 'For parents, a school closure can mean taking time off work to care for kids - except that many jobs don't offer paid time off. That means parents can lose pay for the days they don't work, or even lose their jobs entirely. And while working from home is a possibility for some parents, many jobs can't be done remotely - cleaning hospitals and other facilities, for example, or putting out fires - and it's not always possible to care for a child while working at the same time.' ( Vox , 3/10/20)
Many Parents 'Have Little Choice But To Take Time Off Work To Take Care Of Their Child,' But 30% Of Private Sector Employees And 70% Of Low-Wage Workers Don't Have Paid Sick Days And Even Those Who Do May Not Be Allowed To Use Them To Care For A Family Member. 'And when schools are closed, parents are faced with a question, he added: 'Who's going to watch their young kids?' Some parents have little choice but to take time off work to take care of their children. But as of 2018, one in three private sector workers, and seven in 10 low-wage workers, lacked paid sick days, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. And even those with paid sick days may not be allowed to use them to care for a family member.' ( Vox , 3/10/20)
A Parent Caring For A Child Due To School Closures Will Receive Up To $200 Per Day . 'You are caring for a child whose school is closed: $200 per day' ( Forbes , 3/19/20)
The Bill Expanded Eligibility For State Unemployment Programs And Directed $1 Billion In Additional Funds To Support The Programs
The Department Of Labor, Which Administers Unemployment Programs, Expanded Eligibility To Workers If Their Employer Reduces Their Hours Or Shuts Down Due To The Pandemic. 'Following President Donald J. Trump's swift action to protect the American workforce from exposure to COVID-19 - also known as novel coronavirus - the U.S. Department of Labor today announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where: (1) An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; (2) An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and (3) An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.' (Press Release, Department Of Labor , 3/12/2)
The Bill Directed $2 Billion To State Unemployment Insurance Programs. 'Expanded unemployment insurance: The bill would direct $2 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.' ( Vox , 3/18/20)
It Also Raises The Amount Of Assistance To States With High Unemployment For Those Who Have Exhausted Benefits Already. 'The legislation boosts unemployment benefits, with nearly $1 billion in state grants to cover processing and paying unemployment insurance. It also raises the amount of assistance to states with high unemployment for those who have exhausted benefits already.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
The Bill Also Provides $1 Billion For The USDA's Nutrition And Food Assistance Programs To Provide Food During School Closures For The 30 Million Students Who Rely On Free Or Reduced School Lunches
30 Million Students In The U.S. Qualify For Free Or Reduced-Price Lunch At School. 'Meanwhile, about 30 million students in the US qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school. For families living in poverty, 'the closure of the school makes those kinds of supports less accessible,' Pallas said.' ( Vox , 3/10/20)
The Bill Also Provides Supplemental Appropriations For The USDA's Nutrition And Food Assistance Programs Including The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program For Women, Infants And Children; The Emergency Food Assistance Program; And Nutrition Assistance Grants For U.S. Territories. 'Specifically, the bill provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for nutrition and food assistance programs, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP); and nutrition assistance grants for U.S. territories.' ( Congress.gov , Accessed 03/19/20)
Nearly $1 Billion Is Going To USDA Programs To Provide Access To Meals For Those Without Food Security, Almost $500,000 Will Go To Funding The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program For Women, Infants, And Children, Also Known As WIC. 'Nearly a billion dollars is being given to provide access to meals for those without food security. Half that amount will go toward funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as WIC.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
The Bill Also Funds A $400 Million Emergency Food Assistance Program That Will Be Available Through September. 'Another $400 million is allocated for an emergency food assistance program that will be available through Sept. 30, 2021. Certain households will be eligible for help if a child's school has been closed for at least five consecutive days because of the health crisis.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
It Also Relaxes Qualification Requirements Including Suspending The Program's Work Requirements . 'The legislation allows certain waivers in order to expand who qualifies for benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and suspends the program's work requirements.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
IN CONGRESS, SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO DELIVER RELIEF DIRECTLY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND PROVIDE BADLY NEEDED ASSISTANCE TO STRUGGLING INDUSTRIES
In Congress, The Latest Relief Bill Would Get Money Directly To Americans And Businesses Who Are Hurting Because Of The Coronavirus
In Congress, Senators Are Working On Legislation That Would Be 'By Far The Largest Financial Rescue Ever Attempted By Congress.' 'The Senate bill would be by far the largest financial rescue ever attempted by Congress, dwarfing legislation passed during the financial crisis of 2008.' ( The Washington Post , 3/22/20)
The Proposal Would Give Cash Payments Of As Much As $1,200 Per Person To Taxpayers Making Up To $75,000 Or $150,000 For Joint Filers. 'The bill includes cash payments of as much as $1,200 per person and $2,400 per married couple. Individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, and $150,000 for joint filers, would receive the full payment. People 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.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
The Proposal Also Includes $300 Billion For Loan Guarantees For Small Businesses . 'The proposal also includes $300 billion for loan guarantees for small businesses.' ( The Wall Street Journal , 3/19/20)
The Bill Would Provide $208 Billion In Loan Guarantees For Industries Impacted By The Coronavirus, Including $50 Billion For Airlines And $8 Billion For Cargo Carriers. '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.' ( NPR , 3/19/20)
The Bill Prohibits Stock Buybacks At Firms That Receive The Emergency Loans And Allows The Treasury To Take Equity Stakes In The Firms. 'The bill does appear to prohibit stock buybacks at firms that receive the emergency loans and gives the Treasury Department the opportunity to take equity stakes in the firms so that taxpayers could benefit if a firm regains its financial footing.' ( The Washington Post , 3/22/20)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Has Worked Closely With Democrats To Negotiate A Bipartisan Proposal But, Despite The GOP's Good Faith Negotiations, Democrats Have Torpedoed The Negotiations
A Key Procedural Vote To Advance The Massive Stimulus Package Failed Last Night After Senate Democrats Lined Up Against It. 'As coronavirus hits the Senate - with one senator now diagnosed and several others self-quarantining - a key procedural vote to advance a massive stimulus package failed on Sunday evening. Senate Democrats lined up against it, injecting fresh uncertainty over whether and when lawmakers will reach a bipartisan deal to deliver relief amid the devastating coronavirus pandemic. The vote was 47-47. Lawmakers needed to clear a 60-vote threshold to succeed.' ( CNN , 3/22/20)
The 'Major Sticking Point' With Democrats Are The Loans And Loan Guarantees For Businesses Impacted By The Virus. 'A major sticking point is a $500 billion pool of money for loans and loan guarantees that Republicans want to create, which some Democrats are labeling a 'slush fund' because the Treasury Department would have broad discretion over who receives the money. There is little precedent for a program with a similar size and scope.' ( The Washington Post , 3/22/20)
Despite Participating In Negotiations With Senate Leadership, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announced That The House Will Introduce Its Own Bill -- Something That Could 'Significantly Draw Out The Process To Finalize Legislation.' 'Departing a meeting with the top four congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Pelosi said there is no deal yet and that the House will introduce its own bill -- something that could significantly draw out the process to finalize legislation.' ( CNN , 3/22/20)EconomyMiddle ClassRead more research