March 24, 2020 - Douglas Myser

One proposal to curb virus impact. While the country grows more concerned about the spread of the coronavirus and more impatient about the government's handling of the problem most apparent in its slowness in making COVD-19 testing kits widely available, the Trump administration and Congress have been discussing measures to ease the detrimental economic impacts of the outbreak. The White House and Congress agree on several provisions of a package, but have been far apart on others.  Ideas range from providing help for the industries hardest hit to ensuring people, including the uninsured have access to free coronavirus testing. Here are some of the proposals that have been laid out by either the administration or Congress or both. One proposal to curb virus impact.

Payroll tax holiday. The President called for a payroll tax holiday at the beginning of negotiations, but bipartisan lawmakers have not been quick to embrace the idea, mainly because it would take too much time for the money to flow into the economic system, and relief is needed much sooner. Deferral of tax payments beyond April 15th IRS deadline without interest or penalties for certain businesses and individuals negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Mr. Trump used emergency authority to get this done. He stated that "This action will provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy."

Small business loans in affected U.S. states and territories. "Effective immediately, the SBA will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories." Mr. Trump said. "These low interest loans will help small businesses overcome temporary economic disruptions caused by the virus." Bailout of industries impacted by the coronavirus spread, such as airlines, hotels and cruise lines. This has been proposed by the administration, but would need Congressional Authorization.

Congress is proposing legislation to provide direct payments to individuals, paid sick leave, free virus testing for all who need a test, paid emergency leave, including 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. Affordable treatment: This would require patients to be reimbursed for any non-covered coronavirus related costs.

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