As Americans struggle to make ends meet, congress has still been unable to come to an agreement regarding an acceptable stimulus package. While the details are debated, citizens continue go without the relief from the financial impact of the #Coronavirus. Relief like LWA (Lost Wages Assistance) helped bridge the #unemployment assistance from the CARES act, but without a longer term solution many are still feeling anxiety over what is to come.
This week, another stimulus bill, called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act was proposed. This proposed bill would extend some elements of the CARES Act, while either decreasing or ending others completely. The bill has been dubbed a “skinny” version of the previous stimulus package due to the lack of certain relief measures. Those who support the bill claim that the omissions in this proposed stimulus package are necessary to maintain national financial stability.
So, what is included in the proposed bill, and (if it passes) how might it affect you? Read on to find out more…
Like the CARES Act, this new proposed package contains federal funding to disburse additional unemployment pay each week to anyone who was left unemployed by COVID-19. The amount added per week in this proposed stimulus package, however, would be $300 per week, through December 27, 2020, instead of $600 per week offered under the CARES Act (that expired in July 2020.)
The skinny bill does backdate payments to include anyone who was unemployed after July 31st, 2020 when the CARES Act ended. This means that if you were unemployed between July 31st and the time when this measure might become active, you would receive a backdated payment.
The newest addition to this proposed stimulus package is a tax credit for parents that would reimburse some of the cost of homeschooling, if they choose not to send their children to open public school locations. The proposed bill also will open a scholarship fund for parents who wish to send their children to private or charter schools outside of their public school district.
Similarly to the CARES act, this proposed bill would allow small businesses to obtain federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP program originally afforded small businesses up to $10 million in funds to remain operational, but this would now be capped at $2 million per loan application and would be restricted to only include businesses that have seen a 35% drop in revenue during the first half of 2020.
The program would also place less restrictions on what the loan funds can be used for by small businesses. Previously, the Paycheck Protection Program stipulated that at least 60% of the funds must go toward employee payroll. It’s unclear whether that stipulation will be upheld with greater spending flexibility for small businesses who would qualify under this proposed bill.
Schools, employers and medical institutions will all be legally protected from lawsuits relating to #coronavirus infection under this proposed bill. This means that school children, employees, and patients (or families of) will have a reduced ability to take legal action against an institution if they fall ill with COVID-19 while in one of these institutions.
This bill does not include a couple of key aspects that were granted in both the CARES Act and other proposed stimulus packages.
Although many Americans have been anticipating and hoping for a second wave of stimulus payments to come around, this bill doesn’t include any mention of a stimulus payment. The original payment started at $1,200 for individuals and scaled to include additional funds for dependent family members. For many, the payment could be applied to additional costs of living due to the current pandemic, or saved in case of sudden unemployment. The loss of that security and financial padding could push many Americans that much closer toward financial instability.
The CARES act provided the Coronavirus Relief Fund for state and local governments in order to help fund any extra measures or costs that might need to be taken to navigate the pandemic. Because of the unexpected financial strain on communities, governments needed these funds to provide for the unique needs of their citizens during the pandemic.
On Wednesday 10/21 the House will vote on a reboot of the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act, also known as the "Skinny Bill." This bill includes the same elements described above, including an extra $300 per week for the unemployed, plus it will now include a $1200 stimulus check for individuals and families.
What’s your take on this new bill? Do you think this potential stimulus package is too 'skinny' or just right?