WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. senators were set to vote on Wednesday on a $2 trillion (1.7 trillion pounds) bipartisan package of legislation to alleviate the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are major elements of the plan, which would be the largest such stimulus ever approved by Congress:
DIRECT PAYMENTS TO AMERICANS
Direct payments of up to $1,200 each to millions of Americans, with additional payments of $500 per child. Payments would be phased out for those earning more than $75,000 a year. Those earning more than $99,000 would not be eligible. Estimated cost: $500 billion
AID TO AIRLINES, LARGE BUSINESSES
- Sets up a $500 billion stabilization fund for hard-hit businesses, states and cities.
That would include $25 billion in grants for airlines, $4 billion for cargo carriers and $3 billion for airline contractors to cover payroll costs. The U.S. government could get stock or other equity in return. Executive pay above $425,000 a year would be frozen for two years.
It also includes $17 billion in loans for "businesses important to maintaining national security," aimed at Boeing Co
The rest would go toward loans, loan guarantees and investments for companies and nonprofits unable to get financing through other sources. Companies tapping the fund would not be able to engage in stock buybacks and would have to retain at least 90% of their employees through the end of September. They would not be able to boost executive pay by more than $425,000 annually, and those earning more than $3 million a year could see their salaries reduced.
The fund would be overseen by an inspector general and a congressional oversight board. The Treasury secretary would have to disclose transactions.
Businesses owned by President Donald Trump, other administration officials or Congress members, or their family members, would not be eligible for assistance.
ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT AID
Payments for jobless workers would increase by up to $600 per week per worker, and laid-off workers would get those payments for up to four months. Regular benefits, which typically run out after six months in most states, would be extended for an additional 13 weeks.
Self-employed workers would be eligible. The government would also partially make up wages for workers whose hours are scaled back, in an effort to encourage employers to avoid layoffs. That would cost $250 billion.
Loans of up to $10 million to help small businesses and nonprofits to help cover employee salaries, rent and other costs. That would cost $349 billion.
MONEY FOR STATES, HOSPITALS, EDUCATION
- $150 billion for state, local and Native American tribal governments
- $100 billion for hospitals and other elements of the healthcare system
- $16 billion for ventilators, masks and other medical supplies
- $11 billion for vaccines and other medical preparedness
- $4.3 billion for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- $45 billion in disaster relief
- $30 billion for education
- $25 billion for mass-transit systems
- $10 billion in borrowing authority for the U.S. Postal Service
- $1 billion for the Amtrak passenger rail service and $10 billion for airports, which are experiencing a drop in passengers
- A refundable 50 percent payroll tax credit for businesses affected by the coronavirus, to encourage employee retention. Employers would also be able to defer payment of those taxes if necessary.
- Tax write-offs to encourage charitable deductions and encourage employers to help pay off student loans.
- Waives federal tax on distilled spirits used to make hand sanitizer.
- A ban on foreclosing on federally backed mortgages through mid-May, and a four-month ban on evictions by landlords who rely on federal housing programs.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)
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