The Senate has now passed a $2.2 trillion bill designed to offer relief to both individuals and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
What is called the CARES Act, providing direct aid to those who may have lost their jobs due to the spread of COVID-19, also offers some $350 billion in loan money for small businesses that may also be enduring hardships caused by the virus.
In particular, the legislation is targeting companies with fewer than 500 full and part-time employees, allowing them to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration of up to $10 million.
The bill also makes small businesses, which have not been closed down by the virus, eligible for tax credits for maintaining their payroll. That eligibility will allow for such companies to receive in credits up to what they pay their workers in wages, topping out at $5,000 per employee
The 880-page bill, comprising the largest peacetime relief expenditure in history, passed the Senate on a 96 to 0 vote and is expected to be swiftly approved in the House.
In a statement, Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors, hailed the bill for providing “construction employers and employees with critically needed access to capital, expedited cash flow, worker benefit protection, and critical tax relief.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the measure is a “step in the right direction,” that will “keep American families and businesses afloat through the crisis.”
Rebates under the legislation will see individuals receiving checks of up to $1,200.
In a just-released analysis, the Joint Committee on Taxation says those rebates will decrease federal revenue by some $292 billion in the next decade.
By Garry Boulard
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