President Trump is currently threatening to veto the bill stating that the bill must include $2,000 payments for American families-not the $600 ones. “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests,” Trump said on Tuesday night in a video released on his social media pages. “While sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it.”
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” he said. “I am also asking Congress to get rid of the unnecessary and wasteful items in this legislation.”
The Island County Free Press will continue to update as the legislative process unfolds.
Congress recently proposed a $900 billion Covid-19 aid bill that is meant to bring relief to Americans continuing to struggle through the vast Federal and State-imposed restrictions on the nation. The relief bill, to be attached to a broader $1.4 trillion omnibus package, includes billions in pork-laden projects unrelated to the Covid crisis. The long-awaited relief package underwent months of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats eager to deliver wins for their respective interests. The following are highlights of the entire bill as well as its summary.
The legislation’s hallmark comprises a direct payment plan for dependent children and individuals with an annual income of $75,000 or less. The $600 ($1,200 in the case of eligible individuals filing a joint return) one-time payment, half the level distributed from the CARES Act, also goes to heads of households earning $112,500 or less, and married couples earning less than $150,000.
The bill appropriates $166 billion for the direct payments, approximately 18.5% of the total bill’s spending.
Payments are based on income reported from 2019 taxes, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claiming payments may reach accounts by the beginning of next week. Those who do not qualify because of 2019 income can request additional money as part of their 2020 tax returns when they file early 2021.
Supplemental unemployment insurance will come in weekly $300 payments, half the amount approved in the CARES Act, for up to 11 weeks. As with the CARES Act, gig workers and others who don’t ordinarily qualify for jobless claims will not be eligible for this subsidy.
The legislation also increases, to 50 weeks, the amount of time workers may claim benefits through both state and federal programs, which is typically limited to 26 weeks. There is also an additional $100-a-week subsidy for workers who have both wage and self-employment income.
The bill includes $25 billion (2.8%) of assistance to tenants in arrears on rent payments and extending the national moratorium on evictions by one month to the end of January 2021. The Treasury Department is responsible for dispersing rental assistance to states via a population-based formula. Landlords and building owners may apply on behalf of tenants meeting eligibility requirements. Requirements include those whose employment has been impacted and make less than 80% of the median income in the area, have at least one person in the household, and are at risk of losing their housing.
One of the largest portions of the new bill includes $325 billion (36.1%) allocated to help small businesses, including $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, expanding eligibility for local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters. Economic Injury Disaster Loans contain an additional $20 billion (2.2%) in funding.
Businesses that receive the PPP loans are eligible to take tax deductions for the expenses covered by forgiven loans. Initially, the Treasury Department denied these deductions, frustrating business owners. This provision is estimated to save businesses $200 billion but is not a part of the overall legislation’s cost.
The relief package also includes $48 billion (5.3%) for healthcare needs, including $20 billion for President Trump’s vaccine distribution. States will also receive an additional $22.4 billion for testing, tracing, and Covid-19 mitigation programs. Of these funds, $2.5 billion will be spent on strategies to improve testing in high-risk and underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities.
Education and other Aid
Approximately $82 billion (9%) has been set aside to aid government and private K-12 schools, colleges, and child care. The bulk of which, $54.3 billion, will go to government education, while $22.7 billion will go to government and private higher education. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as the Food Stamp Program, will also receive $13 billion.
The bill includes billions in additional programs unrelated to the CCP Covid virus:
$33,000,000 for Venezuelan ‘Democracy Programs’
$15,000,000 for Pakistan for ‘Gender Programs’
$4 BILLION to Bill Gates’ GAVI Alliance GLOBAL Health Program
$135,000,000 for Burma
$86,000,000 for Cambodia
$1.4 BILLION for the IndoPacific Strategy and Asia Reassurance
$130,000,000 for Nepal
$453,000,000 for Ukraine
$40,000,000 for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
$700,000,000 for Sudan
$154,000,000 for National Gallery of Art
$1 BILLION for the Smithsonian Institute
$14,000,000 for the Woodrow Wilson Center
$167,000,000 for the National Foundation for Arts/Humanities
$1.3 BILLION for Egypt FOREIGN Military
Many citizens have expressed relief about the pending legislation, seemingly forgetting that the entire package was instigated by the same government that imposed the restrictions in the first place—an extraordinary form of freedom heralded by modern America. The president continues to suggest that he will not sign a bill where Congress leaves Americans wanting, while giving priorities to foreign governments and other special interests.