Speed Reads

coronavirus and the economy

Here's how the U.S. government plans to spend $2.2 trillion to save the economy from coronavirus

Senate and White House negotiators threw together the largest economic rescue bill in modern U.S. history in less than a week, and the final version of the $2.2 trillion package — passed unanimously in the Senate late Wednesday — has a lot of money for a lot of businesses and institutions. The goal of the legislation is to shore up the U.S. economy and civil society during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Here's where some of that money will go:

Direct cash payments: Most Americans will get checks of up to $1,200 plus $500 per child, at a cost of about $290 billion.

Hospitals: $100 billion is for grants to hospitals and health care providers struggling to purchase critical supplies and losing money from postponed elective surgeries. There's also money for community health centers, Medicare, telehealth, and public health agencies.

Unemployment: The bill sets aside $260 billion to expand unemployment payments to a broader group of workers affected by the pandemic, add 13 weeks of coverage for the unemployed, and boost weekly payments by up to $600.

State and local governments: $150 billion will go to help state and local governments weather the outbreak, including a minimum of $1.5 billion per state and $8 billion for tribal governments. There's another $25 billion in state infrastructure grants.

Small businesses: $377 billion is set aside for zero-interest loans and other payments for businesses with fewer than 500 employees — including nonprofits and individual hotels and restaurants from large chains. The loans will be forgiven if the companies retain their employees and meet other conditions.

Big businesses: The bill has $500 billion for industries hit especially hard by the pandemic. This includes $50 billion for passenger airlines — $25 billion in loans, $25 billion in grants — $8 billion for cargo carriers, and $17 billion for "businesses critical to maintaining national security" (read: Boeing). The other $425 billion is loans allocated through Federal Reserve programs, with some limits on executive compensation and stock buybacks, new oversight mechanisms, and a ban on participation by companies significantly controlled by President Trump, other top administration officials, members of Congress, or their families.

Miscellaneous: The Pentagon receives $10.4 billion, FEMA gets $45 billion, $25 billion goes for food stamps, $25 billion for public transit systems, $31 billion for local schools and colleges, and states get $400 million to prepare for the 2020 elections, including expanding vote-by-mail and polling locations.

Find more details at Politico, The Associated Press, and The Washington Post, and learn more about the fine print at The New York Times.