Senate Passes Coronavirus Economic Relief Act

Published by Matt Fishman on

Late last night, Senators voted 96-0 to pass the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act“.

Included in this bill is $349,000,000,000 towards small business loans. Loans are provided for a small business “that has experienced, as a result of COVID–19… supply chain disruptions,… staffing challenges,… a decrease in gross receipts or customers; or a closure”. Loans can be used towards payroll costs; costs incurred from group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave; employee salaries; rent; and utilities.

The bill also defines a “pandemic emergency unemployment compensation” providing unemployment benefits for “an individual who has exhausted all rights to regular unemployment or extended benefits” and “is otherwise able to work and available for work…, except the individual is unemployed,… because… the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID–19; the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID–19; a child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; [or] the individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19”. “[T]he weekly benefit amount [equals that] authorized under the unemployment compensation law of the State where the covered individual was employed” plus “an additional amount of $600”. An “individual may receive assistance [for up to] 39 weeks.”

Additionally, an “advance refund amount” of “$1,200 ($2,400 in the case of eligible individuals filing a joint return), plus an amount equal to the product of $500 multiplied by the number of qualifying children” is allotted for all individuals making less than $75,000. As the individual’s gross income exceeds $75,000, the refund amount will be reduced by 5 percent of the difference (not to exceed zero). Gross income will be determined by the “individual’s first taxable year beginning in 2019”. The refunds are payable electronically, and are noted to be made “as rapidly as possible”.

(A summary of the first 178 pages of the bill is included in this article. The bill is 880 pages long. Further summaries to follow.)