Senate Passes CARES Act to Protect Workers, Businesses

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. This bill is the third legislative package to address the coronavirus emergency and the House is expected to pass the bill tomorrow and send it to President Trump for his signature.

In a press release issued on Thursday, Big “I” President & CEO Bob Rusbuldt commended the Senate, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) for their bipartisan collaboration to help individuals and small businesses across the country.

This comprehensive legislative package uses the full resources of the federal government and provides $2 trillion in support for businesses, individuals and families, the healthcare system and the U.S. economy.

Included in the vast $2 trillion package is $500 billion for distressed sectors, $377 billion in small business assistance to prevent more workers from losing their jobs and businesses from going under, and $250 billion to expand unemployment benefits to provide individuals and families with money in their pockets.

For more information, Big “I” government affairs staff created a full write up of the bill.

Of critical importance to Big “I” members is $350 billion in small business loans that both Big “I” members and clients can benefit from. In addition to the loans, the CARES Act would also allow employers to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, leading to approximately $300 billion of extra cash flow for businesses.

This legislation also includes a provision providing recovery checks directly to most taxpayers, with some limitations based on income. Individuals are eligible for checks up to $1,200 and married couples filing jointly are eligible for checks up to $2,400, with an extra $500 for each child. Eligibility is reduced starting at $75,000 in 2018 income for individuals and $150,000 in 2018 income for joint filers and individuals with 2018 income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with 2018 income exceeding $198,000 are ineligible.

While timing is very uncertain for when Congress will be back in session, there is already pressure and conversations on a possible phase four Coronavirus legislative package. The Big “I” government affairs staff will continue to advocate in any subsequent legislative package for provisions that protect and provide security for its members and their clients. 

Joseph Cortina is Big “I” director, federal government affairs.

To help Big “I” members prepare and respond to the coronavirus epidemic, the association created a resource page, which will be updated as the outbreak develops.