CARES Act Passes in Congress

As expected, the US House today followed the Senate’s Wednesday vote and passed a sweeping $2 trillion coronavirus relief package (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security – CARES) to provide immediate assistance to many Americans, small businesses and major industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump signed the bill today.

The CARES Act includes various provisions aimed at helping the economy, as unemployment claims accelerate and the stock market plunges. Most households would receive checks under the relief act, and the bill includes nearly $400 billion to help small businesses retain their payrolls. It also includes $250 billion to boost unemployment insurance, adding benefits of $600 weekly for four months to workers who have lost their jobs.

Transportation Components:

  • $29 billion in grants for airlines to be used partially for paying employees through September. 
  • $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees for passenger airlines, repair stations and ticket agents.
  • $3 billion in aid for airline and airport contractors including caterers and ground handlers, with restrictions on executive pay increases, stock buyback and dividends.
  • $10 billion for airports through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.
  • $17 billion in loans to “businesses critical to maintaining national security,” which may be aimed at Boeing.
  • $25 billion for public transit agencies to be distributed through existing formulas in a variety of programs.
  • Over $1 billion for Amtrak, with almost half for the Northeast Corridor (Boston – Washington, DC), and more than half for the broader network.

Some other Components:

  • $425 billion in loans and loan guarantees for large firms, cities and states.   
  • $150 billion (Coronavirus Relief Fund) for state, local and tribal governments.
  • $30 billion (Educational Stabilization Fund) for states, school districts and higher ed institutions.
  • $45 billion to states, municipalities and tribes to help citizens respond and recover from effects of COVID-19.
  • $1.4 billion for deployment of National Guard.
  • $4.3 billion to support governments and health agencies prevent and prepared for and respond to pandemic.

The CARES Act also expands unemployment insurance from three to four months, and provides temporary unemployment compensation of $600 weekly, in addition to regular state and federal benefits. It also provides a $1,200 check to many Americans, along with $500 for each dependent child under 18.