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  • Victoria Fernandez

What’s in the stimulus package?

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a big toll on the United States and especially its economy, with a record-breaking ​16.8 million Americans filing for unemployment ​claims in the last three weeks. With stay-at-home orders all across the country, many non-essential businesses are being forced to close and struggling to pay their workers. Workers are struggling to make ends meet due to hours being cut off or being laid off from their jobs.

The gravity of the pandemic and the effects it has had on the lives of Americans has forced Congress and the White House to work together to create an economic stimulus in order to save the economy and prevent or reverse a recession, as it has been done during the Great Depression and the 2008 Great Recession.

The $2.2 trillion stimulus package is the ​largest stimulus package ever​ passed by Congress. Here’s a look at what in includes:

Checks to “every” American

The huge stimulus bill will give all U.S. residents with a gross income of up to $75,000 per year ($150,000 for couples) a check of $1,200 or $2,400 for couples. They are also eligible for $500 per child that is considered a minor. People who earn between $75,000 and $99,000 may be eligible for checks as well, but the check will be of a smaller amount.

Many Americans have stated that ​the one-time $1,200 check is not enough​ and will not do much for them. There are big disparities in the cost of living in different states. The average cost of rent in San Francisco, for instance, is around ​$3,700 per month​. In Mississippi, that amount is closer to $800​. Although a $1,200 check may make a difference for a person who has recently lost their source of income in Mississippi, it certainly will not be enough for an unemployed person in San Francisco.

If a person is considered an adult and still claimed as a dependent by their parents, they would be unable to receive the $1,200 check, and your parents would not receive the $500 either. This has caused outrage in the millions of high school seniors and college students that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, but are ​unable to receive any help​. Adult children with disabilities who are claimed as dependents by their parents are also skipped in the economic relief package.

It was previously thought that only those who filed taxes for the 2018 or 2019 year would receive the check. The Trump administration clarified in a briefing on April 1st that every American who has a valid Social Security number and meets the eligibility criteria will receive a check. This means that many undocumented immigrant families will be ineligible, but it serves as a relief for many low-income families who do not file taxes due to their inability to meet the earning threshold.

Unemployment benefits

People who are unemployed are eligible to receive​ $600 per week for up to four months​, on top of each state’s unemployment benefits.

Loans to industries

The bill includes a whopping ​$500 billion for struggling industries​, such as airlines or even cities or states. The Treasure Department will oversee and manage how the money is spent.

More aid and relief

Hospitals will receive $100 billion in grants to help fight the coronavirus. Health care providers will also receive a 20 percent bump in their Medicare payments for treating patients with the virus.

  • Hospitals will receive $100 billion in grants to help fight the coronavirus. Health care providers will also receive a 20 percent bump in their Medicare payments for treating patients with the virus.

  • Airlines will receive $29 billion in grants, as well as $29 billion in loans. The aid is supposed to go towards the continuation of employee wages and benefits, as well as to give a much needed boost to the airline industry. The bill does not include some of the demands that Democrats wanted for airlines, such as cutting back on emissions.

  • State and local governments will receive $150 billion, as they struggle without tax revenue due to many businesses closing and the rising amount of unemployment claims in every state.

  • $25 billion for food stamps and child nutrition.

  • $30 billion for emergency education funding for colleges and universities, as well as

school districts.

President Trump and Congress have stated that this stimulus economic relief package is the first of many more to come as the economy continues to crumble amid this crisis, and​ lawmakers are already working towards the next package​. Although it is evident that we will continue to need aid from the government for the country to get back up, this is certainly a good start.

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