WASHINGTON – WASHINGTON (AP) — Partial highlights of an approximately $2.2 trillion package to accelerate aid to businesses, workers and a healthcare system battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The package, drafted by Trump administration officials and Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, was released late Wednesday night and unanimously approved by the Senate.
— Loans and guarantees to businesses, states and local governments: $500 billion. Includes up to $50 billion for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo carriers, $17 billion for “businesses essential to maintaining national security.” Companies that accept loans cannot buy back outstanding shares; must maintain their level of employment on March 13, 2020 “to the extent possible”; and bar raises for two years for executives earning more than $425,000 a year. Businesses are not eligible for loans if senior government officials, members of Congress, or their families have 20% control.
— Small businesses: includes $350 billion in loans for businesses with 500 or fewer employees, including nonprofits, self-employed, and hotel and restaurant chains with no more than 500 employees per location . The government is providing eight weeks of cash assistance in the form of loans to cover payroll, rent and other expenses, much of which would be forfeited if the company retains workers. Also $17 billion to help small businesses repay existing loans; $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses to pay for operating costs.
— Emergency unemployment insurance: $260 billion. Includes an additional 13 weeks of coverage for people who have exhausted existing benefits. Also covers part-time, self-employed and gig economy workers. Increase in weekly benefits to $600.
— Health care: $150 billion. Includes $100 billion for grants to hospitals, public health and nonprofit organizations, and Medicare and Medicaid providers.
— Aid to state and local governments: $150 billion, including at least $1.5 billion for smaller states.
— Direct payments to individuals: single payments of $1,200 per adult, $2,400 per couple, $500 per child. The amounts start to disappear at $75,000 for individuals, $150,000 per couple.
— Tax relief: temporarily waiving penalties for virus-related early withdrawals and easing required minimum annual payments from certain retirement accounts; increases deductions for charitable donations. Employers who pay furloughed workers can get tax credits for some of those payments. Postpones the payment of social charges by companies until 2021 or 2022.
– Department of Homeland Security: $45 billion for a disaster relief fund to reimburse state and local governments for medical response, community services and other safety measures. Extends the federal deadline for people to obtain driver’s licenses with enhanced security features, called REAL IDs, from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.
— Education: $31 billion. Includes $13.5 billion for states to distribute to local schools and programs, $14 billion to help universities and colleges.
— Coronavirus treatments: $27 billion for research and development of vaccines and treatments, stockpiling of medical supplies.
— Transportation: includes $25 billion for public transit systems; $10 billion for public commercial airports, intended to support 430,000 transit jobs; $1 billion for Amtrak.
— Veterans: $20 billion, including $16 billion for treatment of veterans in VA facilities; $3 billion for temporary and mobile facilities.
— Food and agriculture: $15.5 billion for food stamps; $14 billion to support farm income and crop prices; $9.5 billion for specific producers, including specialty crops, dairy and livestock; $8.8 billion for child nutrition. Money for food banks, farmers markets.
— Defence: 10.5 billion dollars for the Ministry of Defence, including 1.5 billion dollars to almost triple the 4,300 beds currently in military hospitals; $1.4 billion for states to deploy up to 20,000 National Guard personnel for six months; $1 billion under the Defense Production Act to help private industry increase production of medical equipment. The money cannot be used to build President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border.
— Social programs: includes $3.5 billion in subsidies for child care and early education programs; $1 billion in grants to help communities solve local economic problems; $900 million in heating and cooling assistance for low-income families; $750 million for additional staff for Head Start programs.
— Community Economic Assistance: $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants to help state and local governments expand health care facilities, daycares, food banks, and services for the elderly; $4 billion in homelessness assistance; $3 billion for low-income tenants; $1.5 billion to help communities rebuild local industries including tourism, industry supply chains, business loans; $300 million for the fishing industry.
— Amerindian communities: $2 billion for health care, school equipment and other needs.
— Diplomacy: $1.1 billion, including $324 million to evacuate Americans and diplomats abroad; $350 million to help refugees; $258 million in international disaster assistance; $88 million for the Peace Corps to evacuate its volunteers overseas.
— Elections: $400 million to help states prepare for the 2020 elections with steps including expanded voting by mail, additional polling places.
— Arts: $150 million for federal grants to state and local arts and humanities programs; $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; $25 million for Washington, DC, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
— Congress: $93 million, including $25 million for the House and $10 million for the small Senate for telecommuting and other costs; $25 million to clean up the Capitol and congressional office buildings.