To respond to the coronavirus health crisis and the enormous economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the House of Representatives just now passed by voice vote the CARES Act, the US$2.2 trillion stimulus package that the Senate passed late Wednesday night by a 96-0 vote. The bill now goes to President Trump who has said that he will sign it into law immediately.
This bill, the third legislative response to the coronavirus crisis, marks the biggest economic rescue package in US history. Passage of the bill marked the end to nearly week-long negotiations between senators, House Speaker Pelosi and the Trump administration.
Among its many provisions, the bill provides US$150 billion in aid for the health care industry. US$100 billion of which will be widely available.to hospitals and providers. It has substantial support for laid off employees, small businesses, non-profits, and numerous other industries that have been reeling from the economic impact of the virus. The wide-reaching bill includes a US$1,200 one-time check for individuals who make up to US$75,000 annually and married up to US$150,000. It provides US$377 billion in small loan relief loan to numerous businesses, defers federal student loan payments through September 30 and provides US$260 billion in unemployment benefits.
The bill also includes a US$500 billion infusion into the Treasury Department’s Exchange Stabilization Fund, to be used to make loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to businesses, states, and municipalities in 2020. Of that amount, it would provide as loans and loan guarantees as much as: US$25 billion in direct lending for passenger airlines, ticket agents, and aviation inspection and repair services, US$17 billion for unspecified businesses critical to national security and US$4 billion for cargo airlines. As much as US$454 billion, and any other unused loan funds, would be available to make loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to support programs or facilities established within the Federal Reserve. Funds could be used to purchase obligations or other interests from businesses, states, or municipalities directly or in secondary markets.
Subject to returning to Washington, DC on 24 hours’ notice, the Senate has now adjourned until April 20 and the House also is not expected to return to DC for at least a comparable period. We will continue to update you on all legislative and regulatory developments in connection with the COVID-19 crisis.