The CARES Act: Where will the $2.2 trillion go exactly?
The economy has come to a halt. The American public is waiting for relief, and many are still left wondering exactly how our federal government will disperse aid. The third and by far largest relief bill to pass Congress was signed into law on Friday, March 27th. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will release aid to a wide variety of areas within our economic system. This is not an economic stimulus package, the CARES Act is decidedly a relief package, meaning the purpose is to rapidly respond to this crisis and that a later economic stimulus plan may be essential. Watching the passage of such a sizeable and unparalleled package begs the question, where is this $2.2 trillion of federal relief funds actually going? We found a greatly informative article by NPR reporter Kelsey Snell, ‘What’s Inside the Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package?’, and were able to digest some specifics.
There are seven main groups that will be directly supported by this federal aid plan. These groups are individual US citizens, corporations, small businesses, state and local governments, public health and hospitals, education/other, and federal safety net.
The following numbers and descriptions are based on an assessment done by NPR reporters and are all estimated numbers.
$560 billion to Individuals
This bill is intended to float individuals by issuing direct checks. Individuals who did file taxes in 2018 or 2019 and earned under $75,000/year can expect $1200 payouts. Families can expect a check for each adult and an additional $500 per child. There are no direct checks to be issued to those individuals earning over $99,000/year, nor couples earning over $198,000. About $260 will be issued for additional unemployment benefits.
$377 billion to Small Business
The centerpieces for small businesses are the emergency grants and forgivable loan programs that will be available for companies with 500 or fewer employees. These grants will absorb $10 billion in aid and forgivable loans will see $350 billion. There is also $17 billion available for relief on existing loans.
$500 billion to Big Business
There is $500 billion available for loans and other financial resources for big corporations. These funds will need to be repaid, and public disclosure of supportive fund dispersal is required. A large chunk, $58 billion will go to ensuring that airlines stay open. There is also a stock buyback ban, reporting requirements involved, oversight, and no benefit for President Trump, VP, or cabinet members (Snell, 2020).
$339.8 billion to State and Local Governments
Direct aid will be released to state and local governments to respond to localized issues relating to COVID-19. Recipients will be K-12 schools, those involved with Community Development Block Grants, and family support resource centers.
$153.5 billion for Public Health
Hospitals will see $100 in coronavirus response funding. Community health centers will see $1.32 billion. For diagnostics, treatments, and vaccine funding, there is $11 billion, while the FDA will receive $80 billion to approve new drugs. The CDC is getting $4.3 billion. Veteran’s health care is to receive 420 billion. $16 billion will go to increasing the availability of medicine and supplies like ventilators and masks.
$26 billion for a Safety Net
Child nutrition, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and food banks will see this relief funding.
$43.7 billion to Education/other
Temporary student loan relief, work-study funds, students forced to drop out, and other programs are all areas where this $43.7 will contribute to critical relief.
Where will we go from here?
The question about what lies ahead is what we now grapple with. We must both wait to see how the novel coronavirus will impact our economy and strongly consider taking upon the responsibilities involved with responding to this economic cyclone.
Snell, Kelsey. “What’s Inside The Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package.” NPR, NPR, 26 Mar. 2020,