The $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the House

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the ~$2 trillion fiscal stimulus and emergency response bill passed by the Senate by a 96-0 margin late Wednesday night. Here’s the full text of the bill, via Politico. This is the third, and by far the largest, federal fiscal response to the coronavirus, following the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ($3.5 billion in appropriations and additional authorizations, largely for testing, food assistance, unemployment benefits, and emergency family medical leave and paid sick leave, enacted on March 18) and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act ($8.3 billion in emergency appropriation, enacted on March 6).

The bill is moving too quickly for the Congressional Budget Office to have produced their usual “cost estimate” for such legislation, but my understanding of the major provisions and their price tags—largely based on this estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget—is as follows:

  • $510 billion loan and loan guarantee program
    • $454 billion for a Fed loan and loan-guarantee program for businesses, states, and municipalities
    • $56 billion in loans to specific industries, roughly half for passenger airlines
  • $377 billion loan facility for small businesses (with loan forgiveness for maintaining employment)
  • $300 billion for lump-sum tax cuts (up to $1,200/adult and $500/child)
  • $260 billion for emergency unemployment insurance
  • $150 billion in grants (fiscal relief) for states, municipalities, and tribes
  • $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers
  • $45 billion for FEMA disaster relief
  • $30 billion in grants for K-12 and higher education
  • $25 billion in grants for transportation infrastructure
  • $25 billion for food assistance (mostly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • $20 billion for veterans health programs
  • $10 billion for the CDC, NIH, FDA and other health-related agencies
  • Various business tax write-offs and credits

Here’s EPI’s take on the good, the bad, and the ugly in the major provisions of the CARES Act:

Related reading on the politics of the House vote:

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