The Senate approved (90-8) a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package Wednesday that will provide paid family and sick leave for many Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is now off to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
Additionally, the Treasury Department unveiled to lawmakers a plan for direct payments to Americans starting April 6. A lot of the details of this proposal are still up in the air, but it already has support from the administration.
Here's what we know – and don't. Keep in mind that all details stem from a proposal and are subject to change. We will update, as needed.
Who is issuing the money?
The proposal was put together by the Treasury Department and pitched to Congress by Secretary Steve Mnuchin. In the proposal reviewed by ABC News, the third wave of appropriations by Congress would ostensibly include two $250 billion rounds of direct payments to individual taxpayers.
How much would each person get?
While the president was reluctant to say an actual figure on Tuesday, The Washington Post reports that many Americans would receive two $1,000 payments under the plan.
"We are also playing with a lot of numbers, a lot of very big numbers and a lot of very small numbers, frankly," President Trump said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Details on which income brackets and qualifications on who would receive the payments are still unclear.
When would checks arrive?
According to the proposal, the first payment would be issued beginning on April 6. Another wave of payments would be distributed to taxpayers beginning on May 18.
Specific dates would most likely change during the appropriations process in Congress.
The last time the federal government sent checks to Americans was in 2008, under President George W. Bush. The Economic Stimulus Act was signed into law on Feb. 13, 2008, and provided individual tax relief in the form of tax rebates – as much as $600 for individuals, $1,200 for married couples, and additional rebates for families with children. But the money didn't start going out until late April.
Where is this money coming from?
Taxes, in short.
The bill approved by the Senate Wednesday afternoon is known as "phase two." The stimulus checks, if considered and approved, would come as part of a trillion-dollar "phase three" package. Lawmakers are expected to start negotiations as soon as Wednesday night.
What other financial assistance efforts is the government putting forward?
The aid package approved on Wednesday will provide paid sick and family leave, offer free coronavirus testing, and bolster unemployment insurance.
Payments on student loan interest are also on hold, as the president said last week during his declaration of a national emergency. "I've waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies, and that will be until further notice," Trump said.
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