COVID Compromise: Details

A few minutes ago, they made the announcement:  A deal has been worked out, and they’re finalizing the language now.

Before the news gets hold of this and screws it all up for you with either hate or adulation for the president, the Congress, or whatever their pet Cause happens to be, I’m going to give it to you unadorned:

  1. “Unemployment On Steroids” — Within certain limits, unemployment payments at are going to be guaranteed out four months from mid-March.  If you’ve lost your job, you’re covered.  State levels plus $600 per week, is the most recent number.
  2. Furloughs — If your employer applies, you can be eligible for something close to your full salary, paid by the government, for as long as you’re stuck at home not working.  They keep their employee; you keep your paycheck.  Again, there’s certain limits.
  3. Free Cash — $1200 per adult, $500 per child.  Based on your income FY2018 or 2019, depending on the most recent one you filed.  This is an advance on your next tax return, so they’re not actually giving you anything per se.
  4. Gig Employees — There’s coverage for Uber drivers.  I can’t say right now if my musician friends will also be available, or if anything’s coming to me.  What I can say is, some of the “aid” is actually loans.
  5. Food Stamps — SNAP and related programs are getting more funding, though enrollment isn’t being expanded.  Food pantries are also getting a cash infusion, but only if they’re Federal.
  6. Social Security — Companies can opt to defer paying the SSI tax for now.  Which makes sense if you understand how payroll works.  There’s also a tax credit for companies that retain their workers.
  7. Student Loans — Payments on student loans can be deferred without interest or penalty until September.  Don’t count on them making this easy.
  8. Hospitals — Major cash infusion for hospitals so they can pay overtime and for supplies and suchlike.  Very important, this.
  9. REAL-ID — Previously, your old state ID would have been required to be federally compliant by the end of the summer in order for you to fly et cetera.  That deadline was extended to 2021.
  10. Corporations — There’s a Federal oversight position whose job it will be to monitor for proper use of the $1.2 trillion fund they’re about to start handing out to keep companies in business.
  11. Small Businesses — Some of the corporate cash is reserved for small businesses forced to close, so they can keep making payroll.  Looks like about a quarter of the money is earmarked.  Can’t tell you if this means they’ll help out the owners or not.
  12. Trump — Donald Trump’s family, and those of other top lawmakers, are barred from receiving any corporate relief.
  13. Arts — $25 million for the Kennedy Center and $75 million for the N.E.A.  There’s an argument to be made for this, I suppose, but it seems like a petty partisan victory.

We’ll know more when the bill’s language is finalized; I’ll plan to link it in at the bottom, so bookmark the article and check back often.  Also, remember that the House hasn’t yet approved this, and it’s not law until the president signs it.  Which he will, but all that takes time.  –UPDATE:  House approved 27 March at 2PM; President signed into law shortly after.

The complete final text is available here.  Strange place for it, I know; recycling a dead bill is an old parliamentary trick to permit the Senate to get around the Constitutional requirement that appropriations must begin in the House.

Nobody’s offered an emergency bail-out to me, mind you.

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