National leaders in the Senate and House are working to approve legislation that would financially benefit those economically impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
From the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, March 25:
“The legislation will provide one-time checks of $1,200 to Americans with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. Individuals and couples are eligible for an additional $500 per child. The government rebates will be pared by $5 for each $100 of income over those thresholds, completely phasing out for individuals whose incomes exceed $99,000, $146,500 for head of households with one child and $198,000 for joint filers who don’t have children.
“Eligible U.S. residents must have a work-eligible social security number to receive such a check and must not be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, according to Senate documents. Unlike an earlier proposal crafted by Senate Republicans, the payments won’t be set at a lower level for some low-income Americans.
“The checks will be available to those who have no income as well as people who rely on income benefit programs, such as supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration.
“Those payments would be in addition to a broad expansion in unemployment benefits, which would be extended to nontraditional employees, including gig workers and freelancers, that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) had pushed for, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations. The agreement is also set to increase current unemployment assistance by $600 a week for four months.
“As congressional officials completed the final text of the agreement, a group of Senate Republicans said they would block fast-tracking the legislation unless what they termed a ‘massive drafting error’ was fixed in the unemployment portion of the bill, because the $600 extra weekly payment could result in people getting more money while out of work than they did in their jobs.
“The Senate is also poised to approve $350 billion in loans to small businesses in an effort to keep Americans on payrolls as economic activity across the country comes to a standstill. Under the new program, loan money that small businesses use to cover payroll expenses, rent, interest on mortgage obligations and utilities will be forgiven. The legislation would also provide billions in debt relief on existing loans.”