On Friday, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed a historic $2 trillion economic stimulus package that will provide United States businesses and citizens with much-needed aid during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to an analysis by ENR, the construction industry could be eligible for funding totaling $43 billion out of an appropriations component of the act that makes up $339.9 billion of the total package.
Airlines will see some aid in regards to the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), getting $10 billion in funding. The Department of Defense will also receive $1.5 billion to go toward military and field hospital expansions and medical units. Construction businesses will see assistance in the form of tax deductions for the 2020 tax year through the act as well. The Trump administration is prohibited from using money from the act for use on border wall projects.
In short, the CARES Act will provide $350 billion for small-business loans, more than $100 billion for hospitals, $250 billion for unemployment aid, and more. Read on for a few of the act's main points.
- Business loans and loan guarantees—The CARES Act allocates $500 billion for the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020, which will provide loans, loans guarantees and more to businesses in need. Those include $25 billion to passenger air carriers, $4 billion to cargo air carriers, $17 billion to businesses integral to national security and $454 billion to all other eligible businesses, states, and local municipalities. The act also allocates $3 billion to airline contractors.
- Help for small business owners—The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act provides $350 billion for loans to small businesses. To qualify for the loans, employers must meet the standards of the Small Business Administration, have fewer than 500 employees, be self-employed or be a part of the gig economy. Some other organizations apply, such as nonprofits and veteran organizations. The loans can be used to cover payroll back to February 15. The act's loans amount to 250% of the employer's average monthly payroll and max out at $10 million. Employers who continue to keep employees on their payroll will qualify for a tax credit for doing so.
- Emergency injury disaster loan grants—The act allocates $10 billion in grants for small businesses that are suffering from economic harm due to the current situation. The grants can total as much as $10,000.
- Small business relief debt—Small businesses are also eligible for debt relief from the principal, interest and fees on existing SBA loans. The act allots $17 billion to this specific relief.
- Direct payments to American citizens—Single Americans will get a one-time check totaling $1,200, and married couples will get $2,400, plus an extra $500 per child. Americans who make above $75,000 won't get the full $1,200, and those making above $99,000 won't qualify for the relief checks. The qualification thresholds are doubled for couples. These qualifications will be made based on your most recent tax return (2018 or 2019 taxes). Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said after act is signed, Americans should expect the checks either electronically or by mail within 3 weeks.
- Greater access to unemployment benefits—The act also lets more people apply and qualify for unemployment benefits. In addition to the current unemployment benefits, which varies by state, citizens will also receive $600 per week for up to 4 months. The act makes it possible for those working in the gig economy to receive benefits as well.
- Hospital support and funding—Hospitals will receive $130 billion to support costs for medical equipment, expansions and capacity.
- State and local governments—Approximately $150 billion will go to state and local municipalities who are in need of relief.