COVID-19

U.S. awaits deal on next round of COVID-19 response

Kimberly Adams Mar 13, 2020
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced a bill to respond to the spread of the coronavirus. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

U.S. awaits deal on next round of COVID-19 response

Kimberly Adams Mar 13, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced a bill to respond to the spread of the coronavirus. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Negotiations continue today over the next round of federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress and the White House already signed off on $8.3 billion in emergency funding for COVID-19 response. House Democrats are proposing a raft of measures to provide an economic backstop to this health crisis.

Round 2 of federal coronavirus response is set to include a variety of provisions making it easier for people to stay home when they are sick.

“It allows people to take two weeks of paid sick days,” said Eileen Appelbaum, co-director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “If you are a small employer, the Treasury will reimburse you. Otherwise, the employer pays for that.”

The plan also includes money for the states to cover an expected spike in unemployment claims.

“For those who are required to stay at home, or not going to work, I think maybe in some cases not being paid, then this is a way of addressing it,” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Hoagland says this particular package is designed more to help individual workers and families.

“I think later on, we will see maybe more direct assistance as it relates to businesses,” he said.

But first, the White House and the Democrats have to agree on what to do now.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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