March 26, 2020
Early this morning, the Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The Bill (S. 3548) is called the CARES Act which stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. A vote in the House of Representatives is expected today or tomorrow, and then the bill will be sent to the President to sign. The passage of the CARES Act will be the third stimulus bill designed to ease the impact on individuals and companies of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our effort to get flexibility for individuals to receive home infusions was not included in the CARES Act despite early indications that this would be included. This means that the Foundation’s focus will be to achieve a regulatory/administration provision to allow this flexibility.
The cost of the CARES act is hundreds of billions of dollars more than Congress provides for the entire United States federal budget for a single year, outside of social safety net programs. Administration officials said they hoped that its effect on a battered economy would be exponentially greater, which they value as much as $4 trillion.
Expanded Unemployment Insurance:
- Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide payment to those not previously eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers).
- Waives the 7-day waiting period for benefits.
- Raises the maximum benefit by $600 per week, for up to four months.
- Provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits.
Payroll Taxes: Enables individuals to defer payment of 2020 taxes until 2021 or 2022.
Specifically, for the nonprofit sector, the bill:
- Names nonprofits as being eligible for assistance, but does not set aside a designated amount for our sector;
- Allows individuals to deduct up to $300 of charitable donations if they do not itemize their taxes; and
- Allows nonprofits to participate in the small business loans, and a provision in the original bill that excluded nonprofits that received Medicaid reimbursements was removed.
- The legislation would send direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000, and an additional $500 per child. It substantially expands jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, and would extend the payments for the first time to freelancers and gig workers. The CARES Act is intended to help replace the salaries of furloughed workers for four months.
Sources: AP; Washington Post; The New York Times; Kaiser Health News; Politico; The National Health Council and Law360