Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced legislation on Thursday, March 19, to give each individual in the United States as much as $1,200, and $2,400 per couple during the CCP Virus (coronavirus) outbreak and unemployment begins to skyrocket. McConnell said lawmakers “need to take bold and swift action as soon as possible,” and the draft legislation obtained by Fox News will provide minimum payments of $600, with benefits phased down at adjusted gross income thresholds of $75,000 for singles and $150,000 per couple. Additional payments of $500 per child will also be applicable.
The rebate will then be reduced by $5 for each $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the legislation’s threshold, and will be reduced to zero for incomes that exceed $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for couples.
Earned income, Social Security retirement benefits, some compensation, and pensions received by veterans will be included as qualifying income. In a summary of the legislation, top Republicans said this approach “ensures relief gets to low-income seniors and disabled veterans.”
Taxpayers’ 2018 tax returns or 2019 tax returns in cases where there is no 2018 return will be used by the IRS to determine income.
The proposal by McConnell is in line with President Trump’s proposal to quickly send cheques to U.S. citizens.
In addition, the legislation is intended to help small businesses, including a delay of payment for employer payroll taxes, a delay of estimated tax payments for corporations, and modifications for net operating losses.
The legislation also provides $208 billion in loans and loan guarantees to business sectors suffering from the downturn in the economy, including $50 billion for commercial airlines and $8 billion for air cargo carriers, and $150 billion for other eligible businesses, but the loans will need to be repaid.
McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor, said he wanted key Republicans to meet with Democrats on the relief bill, known as S.3548, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Phase III). “These are urgent discussions and they need to happen at the member level,” McConnell said.
“The number one priority is addressing this health crisis, which requires a Marshall Plan to rebuild our health care infrastructure on a continental scale and ensure the resources are there to test and treat everyone who needs it,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said in a joint statement.
“To earn Democratic support in the Congress, any economic stimulus proposal must include new, strong, and strict provisions that prioritize and protect workers, such as banning the recipient companies from buying back stock, rewarding executives, and laying off workers,” they added. “We look forward to working in a bipartisan way to deliver for the American people as soon as humanly possible.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business Network on Thursday that payments of $1,000 should be available within three weeks to most adult Americans, in an effort to support those suffering economic loss caused by social distancing and closed businesses.
Also, on Wednesday, President Trump signed the second CCP Virus relief bill into law that provides 14 days paid sick leave for individuals affected by the virus, help for the unemployed, and free testing for the virus to all Americans.