Following the US Senate’s unanimous vote late Wednesday March 25, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (the CARES Act) by a voice vote early Friday afternoon. The bill now heads to the White House, where President Trump will sign the legislation very soon.
The CARES Act Top 10 Takeaways:
- Provides stimulus to individuals, businesses, and hospitals in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Creates a $349 billion loan program for small businesses, including 501(c)(3) non-profits and physician practices. These loans can be forgiven through a process that incentivizes companies to retain employees.
- Allocates $500 billion for assistance to businesses, states, and municipalities, with no more than $25 billion designated for passenger air carriers, $4 billion for air cargo carriers, and $17 billion for businesses critical to maintaining national security. The remaining $454 billion may be used to support lending to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities.
- Allocates $130 billion in relief to the medical and hospital industries, including for medical supplies and drug and device shortages.
- Expands telehealth services in Medicare, including services unrelated to COVID-19 treatments.
- Provides $1,200 to Americans making $75,000 or less ($150,000 in the case of joint returns and $112,500 for head of household) and $500 for each child, to be paid “as rapidly as possible.”
- Expands eligibility for unemployment insurance and provides people with an additional $600 per week on top of the unemployment amount determined by each state.
- Expands the Defense Production Act, allowing for a period of two years when the government may correct any shortfall in resources without regard to the current expenditure limit of $50 million.
- Provides the Secretary of the Treasury with the authority to make loans or loan guarantees to states, municipalities, and eligible businesses and loosens a variety of regulations prior legislation imposed through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and others.
- Accompanied by supplemental appropriations to help the government respond to this pandemic.