WASHINGTON – Senate leaders announced Wednesday they reached agreement on a massive stimulus bill to help families and businesses hurt by the coronavirus epidemic.
The language is still being finalized on the roughly $2 trillion package lawmakers hope to quickly pass and send to President Donald Trump. This is the third – and by far the most expensive – package Congress has put together to address the coronavirus.
"This is a wartime level of investment into our nation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Here are some of the major components of the historic relief package.
Help for families
The bill would provide direct payments of up to $1,200 for most individuals and $2,400 for most married couples filing jointly with an extra $500 for each child.
Assistance would start to phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000 and for couples with more than $150,000 in income.
Unemployment insurance benefits would be expanded, increasing the maximum benefit by $600 a week for up to four months. Benefits would be available to workers who are part-time, self-employed or part of the gig economy. People who are still unemployed after state benefits end could get an additional 13 weeks of help.
Food assistance programs would get a boost as would programs to help low-income households avoid eviction and a program to improve internet access in rural areas.
People could make withdrawals from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes without penalty.
Students with federal loans could suspend payments until October.
Students receiving Pell grants who have to drop out because of coronavirus would not be penalized..
Help for small businesses
The bill would give small businesses access to a nearly $350 billion loan program to cover monthly expenses like payroll, rent and utilities. The loans would not have to be repaid if businesses maintained their workforce.
The eight weeks of assistance would be retroactive to Feb. 15, 2020 to help bring back workers who have already been laid off.