The CARES Act (short for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) was approved by the United States Senate Wednesday night by a vote of 96-0 and by the House this afternoon. The final approval was not without drama, as Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) opposed the legislation and drew harsh criticism from the President as a result.
The bill subsequently was signed by President Trump.
With presidential approval in hand, the Treasury Department, the SBA and the White House will work rapidly to effectuate the Act.
This relief comes in the wake of reports that the United States now leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases.
We understand the highlights of the legislation are as follows:
The bill primarily focuses on direct payments, unemployment benefits, aid to companies and aid to hospitals.
The direct payments consist of $300 billion in direct payments to Americans of approximately $1,200 per person (with income being a factor in the final amount of the direct payment), plus $500 for every child.
The bill also broadens the scope of who can receive unemployment benefits, providing benefits to certain groups who would not otherwise be eligible (such as the self-employed, freelancers and those in isolation or quarantine because of the virus).
In addition to the direct payments and unemployment benefits, the measure establishes a $500 billion program for distressed companies. It also offers $377 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.
Finally, of critical importance is $100 billion to hospitals in an effort to enhance the ability of hospitals to provide healthcare in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill could be the largest rescue package in the history of the United States.