What's in the $2 trillion coronavirus bill? Here's how it could help you.


WASHINGTON -- The White House and Senate leadership came to an agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion bill to provide economic relief to workers and businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate could pass the bill later Wednesday, but it is unclear when the House will take up the legislation, as its members are home in their districts and some have tested positive for the coronavirus or have self-quarantined as a precautionary measure. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law if it is passed.

The bill would be the third emergency coronavirus spending package Congress has advanced and the largest economic aid measure enacted in modern U.S. history. Congress has already approved an $8.3 billion bill for health agencies and a roughly $100 billion bill aimed at providing free coronavirus testing, paid leave for those affected, additional Medicaid funding and food assistance.

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The Senate is expected to release the final text of the third coronavirus spending bill later Wednesday. Here's what we know so far about what's expected to be in it and how it might help average Americans:

Direct cash payments

Individuals making up to $75,000 a year would receive checks for $1,200. Couples making up to $150,000 would receive $2,400. An additional $500 would be given per child.

The payments would decrease for those making more than $75,000, with an income cap of $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples.

The initial Republican proposal would have provided less money to lower-income Americans, but the provision was removed from the current bill; anyone making $75,000 or less would be eligible for the $1,200 direct payment.

The payments are expected to be issued by the IRS through direct deposits and should be in Americans' bank accounts within weeks. But for those who do not have direct deposits set up with the IRS, it could take months for the government to mail checks.

Expanded unemployment insurance

The bill would increase the maximum state unemployment benefit by $600 per week for up to four months.

Unemployment benefits would also be extended to those who typically do not qualify, such as gig economy workers, furloughed employees and freelancers.

Under the bill, those nearing the end of their unemployment timetable could have the period extended by 13 weeks.

Small business support

Roughly $350 billion would go toward loans for small businesses.

Companies with fewer than 500 employees could be eligible for up to $10 million in forgivable small-business loans to allow them to keep paying their employees.

Small businesses that maintain payroll would be eligible for assistance for costs such as mortgage interest, rent and utilities.

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Assistance for corporations

The bill is expected to provide $500 billion in aid for corporations, such as airline companies, that have been hurt by the outbreak.

Democrats had been concerned that the aid would be used as a "slush fund," with little to no oversight on who got how much money, but provisions were added to help allay those concerns.

As part of the agreement, the bill would prohibit businesses controlled by the president, the vice president, members of Congress and heads of executive departments from receiving the loans.

The bill would also establish an inspector general and a five-person congressional oversight board responsible for selecting and confirming payments to companies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be required to testify about the transactions.

Furthermore, the measure would create real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations.

Public health funding

The bill would give more than $100 billion in assistance to hospitals, an increase from the Republicans' initial proposal of $15 billion.

Additional funding would also be provided for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public transportation agencies and food stamp, child nutrition and other health care-related programs.

Student loans

The bill would allow students to defer loan payments for six months and keep their Pell grants. Any interest that accrued during that time would be waived.

Students who have to leave school because of the coronavirus would not lose their eligibility for future Pell grants, and the bill would allow them to keep any unspent money from Pell grants or loans.

State aid

The measure would also provide about $150 billion in stimulus funds to help state and local governments boost their budgets amid a significant drop-off in tax revenues.


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