By Revanth Rao
In the wake of the United States coronavirus outbreak, President Trump signed a stimulus bill that will distribute two trillion dollars to American workers, companies, hospitals, state governments, and the federal unemployment program. The bill will help boost the floundering economy and provide financial support to suffering workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill – the largest emergency spending measure in US history – will issue monetary support to numerous parties across the country. For workers, the Internal Revenue Service will give a one-time payment of 1,200 dollars to single Americans earning less than 99,000 dollars; couples earning a total gross income under 150,000 dollars will receive a check for 2,400 dollars, as well as 500 dollars per child living at home. After a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week alone, the bill also adds 600 dollars per week to the unemployment payments distributed by states.
For businesses, the bill will provide zero-interest loans to help with the loss of customers during the outbreak. The bill will send 350 billion dollars to small businesses and 500 billion dollars to distressed companies. Notably, the federal government will not offer any monetary support to the cruise industry, one of the first businesses to experience the spread of coronavirus firsthand on their ships. This is because cruise lines headquarter in places like Panama, Liberia, and Bermuda to avoid paying American taxes, employing American workers, and abiding by American labor laws.
In a show of bipartisan support for the measure, the bill passed unanimously, 96-0, in the Senate on Wed., Mar. 25. The bill then moved on to the House of Representatives, where it was met with resistance from representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Thomas Massie. Ocasio-Cortez, a noted Democratic Socialist, took issue with the bill and referred to it as “one of the largest corporate bailouts with as few strings as possible in American history.” Massie, who opposed the bill because it would add to the federal deficit, irritated both parties by asking for a recorded vote, which would mean a majority of the House would need to be in Washington to vote. This left many politicians scrambling to find travel arrangements to the nation’s capital on short notice for a bill that was set to pass by a wide margin. In the end, the House overruled Massie, instead using a voice vote; however, members of both parties, including President Trump, were angered by Massie’s actions.
While President Trump signed the bill on Mar. 24, it is unlikely Americans will see their checks anytime soon as there are numerous logistical hurdles involved with distributing such a large sum of money. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchen said that Americans should expect the check within three weeks; however, some experts are saying that the checks may not arrive until May.
(Sources: CNN, Washington Post, The Hill, Business Insider, CNBC)