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House approves $2 trillion coronavirus relief package

by Kerrie Kennedy

House approves $2 trillion coronavirus relief package

The U.S. House of Representatives has given final approval on a $2 trillion stimulus bill that will give American taxpayers making $75,000 or less one-time, direct payments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, along with an extra $500 per child.

The nearly 900-page bill allows independent contractors, including real estate professionals whose work has been disrupted due to COVID-19, to qualify for unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks. These benefits have been expanded up to $600 per week in an attempt to fill the gap between state unemployment insurance and the average worker’s weekly salary.

“This is the largest financial rescue package in our nation’s history,” said NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Shannon McGahn in a press release. “Combined with two other relief packages that have already been signed into law and a likely fourth bill in the near future, this … represents a seismic and definitive action to help Americans and the economy through this national emergency.”

The stimulus package earmarks $350 billion towards the Small Business Administration, which allows businesses with 500 employees or fewer to get up to a $10 million loan — a portion of which will be forgivable — to cover mortgage interest, rents, utilities and payroll taxes.

“We worked with the drafters of this legislation to ensure that independent contractors and those living on a commission-based income will be eligible for the loans as well as the forgiveness provision,” McGahn said.

The bill will give the hospital industry $130 billion in rescue funds and a 20% increase in Medicare payments for treating patients with COVID-19. The airline industry got $58 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees while $150 billion was set aside for state and local governments.

Checks to taxpayers are expected to arrive by mail in six to eight weeks, and taxpayers who have signed up for direct deposit should expect their stimulus payouts in three weeks.

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