NY Desk (Channel TT) The biggest economic stimulus in American history is hurtling toward passage, but Washington’s colossal intervention to save the economy still chooses winners and losers among businesses and American workers.
The measure includes expanded worker protections Democrats demanded along with the $500 billion rescue fund Republicans pushed for to help beleaguered U.S. industries. Many Americans will get checks of $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples.
The hospital industry is getting what it asked for — $100 billion in rescue funds. But the oil industry is getting nothing, and neither are cruise companies.
This gargantuan bill won’t make it to President Donald Trump’s desk without some last minute political angst: Sen. Bernie Sanders is threatening the bill because it doesn’t have enough restrictions on the business bailout and Republicans think the unemployment aid is too generous.
Beefed-up unemployment benefits:
What they got: People who are unemployed would get an extra $600 per week for up to four months, on top of state unemployment benefits to make up for 100 percent of lost wages. The final agreement provides an extra month of unemployment benefits than what Senate Republicans had originally sought.
Why it matters: A group of GOP senators threatened Wednesday to block a fast-tracked vote on the measure, arguing that some workers would actually get a raise over their actual pay. "We have incentivized people not to go back to work," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. Unemployment claims are also climbing by the tens of thousands every day in states across the country, and congressional negotiators acknowledge that benefits may need yet another boost through additional relief packages.
Loans to industries: $500 billion:
What they got: The Treasury Department would divvy up a $500 billion pot of loans to struggling industries like airlines, and even cities and states.
Why it matters: Rules added to the bill will order an inspector general and accountability committee to oversee how the money is spent, rather than giving Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broad power to cut the loan checks. Veterans of the 2008 bank bailout say, however, that the effectiveness of that oversight will only be as strong as the chosen watchdogs and how much power they really have.
Checks on the way:
What they got: All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) would get a $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) “rebate” payment. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. The payments would start phasing out for earners above those income thresholds and would not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
Why it matters: People who don’t pay taxes, such as those with very low incomes, may be hard to reach the way the program is designed.
Hospitals gets their wish: $100 billion:
What they got: Health care providers would secure $100 billion in grants to help fight the coronavirus and make up for dollars they have lost by delaying elective surgeries and other procedures to focus on the outbreak. They would also get a 20 percent bump in Medicare payments for treating patients with the virus.
Why it matters: This figure is exactly what three powerful groups representing physicians, hospitals and nurses had demanded, though for-profit hospitals were lobbying for much more. But there are still questions about whether there will be significant guardrails on how the money will be split up. The coronavirus will hit rural hospitals especially hard, since they already operate on thin margins and have limited staffing capacity. So some lawmakers have been working to ensure enough money goes to those sites.
In addition, the following areas will be spent in some other sectors:
Aid to airlines: $58 billion, State and local governments: $150 billion, Pentagon plus-up: $10.5 billion, Telemedicine investment: $200 million, Telemedicine investment: $200 million, Food stamps and child nutrition: $25 billion, Relief for farmers, ranchers: $24 billion, Emergency assistance for schools: $30 billion
Source Courtesy : Politico