WIN­NERS, LOSERS IN $2.8-TRIL­LION U.S. STIM­U­LUS PLAN.

SMALL BIZ, FARM­ERS, HOS­PI­TALS ALL BEN­E­FIT

Calgary Herald - - NP -

Days of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and Congress — and fierce lob­by­ing by in­dus­tries ea­ger for as­sis­tance deal­ing with the coro­n­avirus out­break — has yielded a res­cue pack­age for the United States worth more than $2.84 tril­lion in spend­ing and tax breaks.

Here are some of the win­ners and losers:

MORE AID FOR COM­PA­NIES, STRINGS AT­TACHED

The plan would in­crease as­sis­tance for dis­tressed com­pa­nies to about $710 bil­lion. But the aid comes with strings at­tached af­ter pres­sure from Democrats.

Com­pa­nies re­ceiv­ing a govern­ment loan would be sub­ject to a ban on stock buy­backs through the term of the loan plus one ad­di­tional year. They also would have to limit ex­ec­u­tive bonuses and take steps to pro­tect work­ers. The Trea­sury Department would have to dis­close the terms of loans or other aid, and a new Trea­sury in­spec­tor gen­eral would over­see the lend­ing pro­gram.

The bill is largely a win for the re­tail, ho­tel and restau­rant in­dus­tries that ini­tially viewed law­mak­ers as favour­ing the air­line in­dus­try.

AIR­LINES WIN LOANS, CASH-FOR-EQ­UITY BAILOUTS

Strug­gling U.S. air­lines would be eligible to re­ceive fed­eral loans and di­rect cash as­sis­tance if they are will­ing to give an op­tion for an own­er­ship stake to the govern­ment.

The pro­gram al­lo­cates $36 bil­lion to pas­sen­ger car­ri­ers and $4.3 bil­lion to air­line con­trac­tors pro­vid­ing ground staff such as cater­ers, while cargo haulers would see $5.7 bil­lion.

Other trans­porta­tion win­ners in­clude rail and tran­sit oper­a­tors. Am­trak would get $1.5 bil­lion to cover coro­n­avirus-re­lated rev­enue losses and sup­port state-funded routes. State and lo­cal tran­sit agen­cies would get $35.5 bil­lion for op­er­at­ing and cap­i­tal ex­penses.

SMALL BUSI­NESSES WANTED CASH IN­JEC­TIONS

The bill carves out more than $497 bil­lion in aid for small busi­nesses, much of which would be in loans through the Small Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion and banks, guaranteed by the fed­eral govern­ment. The loans would be for­given provided the busi­nesses meet cer­tain re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing lim­it­ing re­duc­tions in pay and lay­offs, though with more flex­i­bil­ity for em­ploy­ers than the orig­i­nal Se­nate bill.

CASH FOR CIT­I­ZENS, GIG WORK­ERS

The pack­age would pro­vide di­rect pay­ments to lower- and mid­dle-in­come Amer­i­cans of $1,700 for each adult, as well as $710 for each child.

Democrats were able to se­cure a change from a pre­vi­ous ver­sion that al­lows low-in­come tax­pay­ers to get the full $1,700 pay­ment. The ini­tial plan would have given smaller cheques, or in some cases, no money at all, to very-low in­come peo­ple.

Un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance pay­ments were boosted and re­cip­i­ents would be eligible to re­ceive those funds for an aver­age of four months. It also would ex­tend el­i­gi­bil­ity to the self-em­ployed and gig work­ers.

MONEY FOR HOS­PI­TALS UN­DER HEALTH-CARE ‘MAR­SHALL PLAN’

The leg­is­la­tion calls for $166 bil­lion for hos­pi­tals and vet­er­ans’ health care, as well as $22.7 bil­lion for personal pro­tec­tive equip­ment, ven­ti­la­tors and other med­i­cal sup­plies for fed­eral and state re­sponse ef­forts.

It also in­cludes $15.6 bil­lion for vac­cines, ther­a­peu­tics, di­ag­nos­tics and other med­i­cal needs, and at least $355 mil­lion to im­prove the ca­pac­ity of health-care fa­cil­i­ties to re­spond to med­i­cal events, ac­cord­ing to a sum­mary by the Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee.

The bill would re­quire in­sur­ers to cover tests for COVID-19.

MORT­GAGE RE­LIEF FOR WIDE SWATH OF BOR­ROW­ERS

Many U.S. home­own­ers and busi­nesses hit hard by coro­n­avirus could get re­lief from mak­ing their monthly mort­gage pay­ments through the bill.

Bor­row­ers with loans in­sured by govern­ment agen­cies such as the Fed­eral Hous­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Department of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs would be eligible for a tem­po­rary post­pone­ment of mort­gage pay­ments.

Con­sumers whose mort­gages are backed by Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac would also be eligible to skip pay­ments.

EMER­GENCY AID FOR FARM­ERS IN­CLUDED

The stim­u­lus pack­age in­cludes up to $33.4 bil­lion in farm aid. It would pro­vide $13.5 bil­lion in emer­gency funds for agri­cul­ture, in­clud­ing live­stock pro­duc­ers and grow­ers of spe­cialty crops such as fruits and veg­eta­bles. And it would au­tho­rize $19.9 bil­lion in new bor­row­ing au­thor­ity for the U.S. Agri­cul­ture Department’s Com­mod­ity Credit Corp., a De­pres­sion-era en­tity the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has used for its farm-bailout pro­grams the past two years.

STATE, LO­CAL GOV­ERN­MENTS GET RE­LIEF

A coro­n­avirus re­lief fund with $213 bil­lion would be cre­ated for states, cities and other lo­cal gov­ern­ments. Ad­di­tional funds will be set aside for ter­ri­to­ries, tribal gov­ern­ments and other en­ti­ties.

The pack­age in­cludes $568 mil­lion for the Elec­tion As­sis­tance Com­mis­sion to pro­vide grants in re­sponse to the coro­n­avirus out­break. The funds could be used to ex­pand vot­ing by mail, early vot­ing and online reg­is­tra­tion and bol­ster in-per­son vot­ing, ac­cord­ing to a Se­nate aide.

NO AID FOR TRUMP PROP­ER­TIES

Democrats won lan­guage that would bar any busi­ness owned by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or his fam­ily from get­ting loans from Trea­sury. Busi­nesses owned by mem­bers of Congress, heads of ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ments and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence also would be blocked from re­ceiv­ing aid un­der the stim­u­lus pro­gram.

OIL IN­DUS­TRY, RE­NEW­ABLES BOTH LOSE

A $4.3-bil­lion pro­vi­sion in the orig­i­nal GOP bill to buy oil for the na­tion’s Strate­gic Pe­tro­leum Re­serve was cut by ne­go­tia­tors. The fund­ing for the emer­gency stock­piles had been re­quested by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for the pur­chase of up to 77 mil­lion bar­rels of crude oil to sup­port the do­mes­tic in­dus­try and boost re­serves at cheap prices.

Democrats sought to add bil­lions in fund­ing for clean en­ergy in ex­change and in the end both were scut­tled. But the is­sue could arise as Congress takes up ad­di­tional coro­n­avirus-re­lated leg­is­la­tion in com­ing weeks.

MARK LEN­NI­HAN / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and Congress have agreed to an as­sis­tance pack­age to help busi­nesses and work­ers in cities such as New York City that are dev­as­tated by the im­pact of the COVID-19 cri­sis.

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