House of Representatives
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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Moves to House Vote

March 27, 2020
The House of Representative is expected to pass the third bill addressing the coronavirus pandemic shortly after noon, March 27.

The House of Representatives convened at 9 o’clock EST on March 27 to discuss the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill passed by the Senate at just before midnight March 25. The bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous vote, is an urgent response by Congress to the COVID-19 pandemic. At press time, there are more than 86,000 active cases of the virus in the United States, more than any other country in the world. 

The stimulus bill, officially H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will cost roughly $2.3 trillion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s website. Of those trillions of dollars, $510 billion will go towards loans and grants to large companies, $377 billion towards smaller businesses, $290 billion for individual tax rebates, $260 billion for expanded and extended unemployment benefits.

Strings Attached

Large companies receiving loans under the program will have to abide by certain restrictions. They must limit executive bonuses, and they won’t be allowed to engage in stock buybacks until a year after the loan is paid off. Additionally, borrowers will be required to remain neutral on any union organizing efforts for the term of the loan.

One company likely to receive a large business loan is Boeing. $17 billion is earmarked for “firms vital to maintaining national security,” a likely reference to the Chicago-based aerospace giant. Airlines will also receive a bailout from a pool of $25 billion: Demand for air travel in the United States has plummeted since the outbreak began.

The money allocated for small businesses has fewer strings attached. Some small businesses will receive grants instead of loans, and those that do take loans may receive loan forgiveness if the money is spent on payroll, rent, utilities, and other necessary operations. Businesses of will also receive a payroll tax credit for retaining workers at a loss.

For the Unemployed and Unfortunate

For many workers, though, the incentives for keeping employees at a loss will come too late: on March 26, the Department of Labor reported that unemployment insurance claims were flooding in at more than quadruple the previous record. The stimulus bill contains $260 billion intended to expand every aspect of unemployment insurance: Unemployment benefits will pay $600 more per week and cover more employees for 13 weeks longer than before.

And for those in worse straits than just unemployment, the stimulus also includes $42 billion towards expanding social programs like SNAP, child services and housing support. Additionally, anyone reporting less than $75,000 of income is eligible to receive $1,200 per individual in a one-time tax credit, with higher incomes receiving less.

Earlier Bills

The first bill, signed into law March 6, provided emergency funding for public health education, vaccine and therapy development, and medical equipment purchases. The second bill, signed into law March 18, stipulated that testing for the virus would be free for all Americans and provided additional funding for state unemployment programs, food banks, and similar programs, much like similar sections of the latest bill. The bill expected to pass the House March 27 is the third and most comprehensive bill thus far addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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