U.S. awaits deal on next round of COVID-19 response
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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
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.
U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
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