The CARES Act: How the Senate’s $2 Trillion Bill Breaks Down

March 29, 2020 | Ohio

How the Senate’s $2 Trillion Bill Breaks Down

Last week, the Senate passed the $2 Trillion CARES Act. Following the Senate’s action, the House deliberated on its own $2.2 trillion legislation, which in many ways mirrors the Senate version. What is unmistakable is that it is the largest financial package every passed – over twice the size of the legislative package passed during the financial crisis of 2009.

The President signed the final version of the legislation on Friday, March 27th. There’s much to unpack in the CARES Act and over the next several days and weeks states, local governments, businesses, direct services providers, and all Americans will learn more about the rules surrounding this historic funding package. In the meantime, CDF-Ohio is providing a summary of the Senate version and the final piece of legislation in simple, non-legalese, language and will follow-up with some additional analyses on key provisions that focus on families and children. Stay tuned as we “break this down” and share more. Depending on how long this pandemic stretches on and what actions Ohio takes to “flatten the curve”, we will also share what additional types of supports are needed to help Ohio emerge from this pandemic.

The Senate passed CARES Act provides relief to several groups impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

  1. Individuals- $560 billion (estimated)
  2. Big Corporations- $500 billion
  3. Small Business- $377 billion
  4. State & Local Governments- $339.8 billion
  5. Public Health- $153.5 billion
  6. Education/Other- $43.7 billion
  7. Safety Net- $26 billion

Cares Act- S. 3548

Income assistance

  • $1,200 one-time payment per adult (up to $75,000 in annual income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers) and $500 per child
  • Rebate amount reduced by $5 for each $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the income threshold with complete phase-out at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for joint filers
  • Includes those with no income
  • $900 million for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

In order to receive income assistance, people will need to have filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 to receive it. Those who did not file a return will be eligible if they file one retroactively–that includes, for instance, people who are Social Security or SSDI. This provision doesn’t apply to undocumented immigrants but would apply to immigrants who have a Tax Identification Number (TIN). Also, this additional income will not impact asset limits or income limits that individuals need to meet to qualify for other programs like SNAP or Medicaid.

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

  • $600/week in addition to other UI benefits (totaling 100% wage replacement) for 4 months
  • Temporary UI program for part-time, self-employed, gig economy, and other workers excluded from regular UI through December 31, 2020
  • 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020
  • Provides federal funding for states to waive waiting weeks through December 31, 2020
  • Full federal funding for existing Short-Term Compensation (STC) programs, 50% federal funding for states beginning STC programs, and $100 million in grants to states through December 31, 2020
  • $360 million for worker training and support and implementation costs at Department of Labor

The legislation creates a new program called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) that provides help for workers that don’t qualify for the usual state unemployment benefits and that can complement state benefits for some people. It provides payments to self-employed people, independent contractors, gig workers and people who are regular state unemployment and exhaust the time limit.  The bill temporarily expands unemployment insurance to people who would like to work but can’t because they are sick or are caring for a family member who is, including people who are self-employed or who don’t have an extensive work history. The PUA provides UI for up to 39 weeks. Also under the UI provisions in the bill, lower income people on UI are eligible for an extra $600 per month in pay thru July 31st starting in April (Basically, for four months). This doesn’t apply to upper income earners but it would ensure that lower income workers get a full salary (not just the 2/3 pay that often they get under regular state UI) for a third of this year. This provision is not retroactive. It starts in April.

Paid sick days & paid family and medical leave

  • Retains exclusion of employers with more than 500 employees from emergency paid sick and paid family and medical leave programs
  • Excludes parents who have to care for adult children with disabilities
  • Allows exemption of executive branch employees from paid leave protections
  • Allows employers and self-employed individuals to receive an advance tax credit for paid leave expenses

Access to testing, treatment, and prevention

  • Requires private insurers and Medicare to cover coronavirus treatment and prevention
  • Requires diagnostic test providers to make the price for the coronavirus test publicly available on the internet
  • Requires Medicare to allow fills and refills of prescription drugs for up to 3-month supply during the emergency
  • $20 billion for health care access for veterans

Health care capacity

  • $100 billion for health care providers to cover coronavirus-related costs
  • $27 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund
  • $16 billion for Strategic National Stockpile of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other medical supplies
  • 3.5 billion to expand production of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics
  • $4.3 billion for federal, state, and local public health agencies
  • $1 billion to ramp of manufacture of medical supplies through Defense Production Act
  • Extends funding for Community Health Centers, National Health Service Corps, Teaching Centers, and Special Diabetes Program through November 30, 2020
  • $1.32 billion in supplemental funding to Community Health Centers
  • $1.4 billion for coronavirus operations by Active, National Guard and Reserve service members
  • Additional $4.3 billion for CDC
  • Additional $945 million for NIH
  • Suspends Medicare cuts through sequestration through December 31, 2020
  • Expanded access to telemedicine
  • Establishes Ready Reserve Corps
  • Provides needed resources for the Medical Reserve Corps and flexibility for the National Health Service Corps

Frontline worker safety

  • No OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard
  • $3.5 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants
  • $750 million for Head Start


  • $30.75 billion for Education Stabilization Fund to support local school systems and higher education institutions
  • $13.5 billion for elementary and secondary education formula grants
  • $3 billion for discretionary grants through states
  • 14.25 billion for higher education
  • Student loan payments suspended for 6 months with no interest accrual
  • Income tax exclusion for employers to provide up to $5,250 for student loan repayment assistance
  • Flexibility for colleges and universities to continue operating
  • Flexibility for students whose program eligibility would be affected by coronavirus

All loan and interest payments would be deferred through Sept. 30 without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans.  It also allows schools to turn unused work-study funds into supplemental grants and continue paying work study wages while schools are suspended.  Students who drop out of school as a result of the coronavirus wouldn’t have that time away from school deducted from their lifetime limits on subsidized loan and Pell grant eligibility. Those students would also not be asked to pay back any grants or other aid they’ve already received.

Food security

  • $15.8 billion in additional funding for SNAP
  • Emergency funding for other nutrition programs, including $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs and $450 million for food banks through TEFAP


  • $4 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • $3 billion in rental assistance
  • 120-day moratorium on evictions in properties receiving any federal assistance
  • 60-day foreclosure moratorium on federally backed mortgages and up to 180 days of forbearance during emergency

Seniors and people with disabilities

  • $955 million for nutrition programs, home and community based services, support for family caregivers, and other programs for seniors and individuals with disabilities
  • $200 million to mitigate spread of coronavirus in nursing homes
  • $50 in housing for low-income seniors
  • $15 million for housing for people with disabilities


  • Requires Social Security Number for cash assistance (excluding immigrant families)
  • “Non-resident aliens” excluded from unemployment insurance
  • Prevents exclusion of sanctuary jurisdictions from Byrne Justice Assistance Grants
  • Prohibits transfer of funds to border wall

Incarcerated population

  • $100 million for Bureau of Prisons for coronavirus prevention, preparation and response
  • $850 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to law enforcement and jails for coronavirus, preparation and response, including PPE
  • Allows longer release to home confinement

Small businesses and nonprofit organizations

  • $350 billion for new Paycheck Protection Program to assist small businesses and nonprofits
  • Forgivable loans for 8 weeks of payroll (up to $10 million) to employers (including nonprofits) with less than 500 employees, self-employed individuals, and gig workers
  • Loan forgiveness reduced if reduction in employees or pay
  • Incentive for rehiring workers
  • $17 billion to provide relief from SBA loan payments for 6 months
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants for operating costs (up to $10,000)
  • Allows deferment of 7(a) loan payments for 6-12 months
  • Federal government covers 50% of unemployment compensation for nonprofits

Industry aid

  • $500 billion in industry aid through Federal Reserve, including $25 billion for airlines, $4 billion for cargo carriers, and $17 billion for businesses important to national security
  • Conditions on aid
  • Requires maintenance of at least 90% of employees as of March 24, 2020 through September 30, 2020
  • U.S.-domiciled business with employees predominantly in the U.S. (still allows U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies to receive aid)
  • Bans stock buybacks and dividends until 1 year after aid ends
  • No increase in executive compensation or severance pay more than double annual compensation
  • Prohibits businesses controlled by President, Cabinet, and Members of Congress (or family members) from benefiting
  • Grants to nonprofits and businesses with 500-10,000 employees with conditions
  • Retain 90% of workforce with full compensation and benefits through September 30, 2020
  • No outsourcing or offshoring until two years after loan term
  • Respect for existing collective bargaining agreements until two years after loan term
  • Neutrality in union organizing during loan term
  • $32 billion for air carrier workers with conditions
  • Exclusive use for wages, salaries, and benefits
  • No furloughs or pay cuts until September 30, 2020
  • Maintenance of necessary air service
  • Government option for equity
  • Executive compensation above $3 million cut by half
  • Creates Special Inspector General, Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and Congressional Oversight Commission (with subpoena power) to provide oversight
  • Requires real-time reporting of aid transactions
  • Suspension of taxes on passengers, cargo, and aviation fuel
  • No $3 billion bailout for fossil fuel companies

Tax benefits

  • Refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid to employees for employers that suspend operations or see over 50% drop in receipts
  • Deferred payment of the employer share of Social Security tax with full repayment by

December 31, 2022

  • Allows businesses (including pass-throughs) to offset up to 100% of taxable income with “carry back” losses
  • Acceleration of corporate Alternative Minimum Tax credits
  • Increased deductions for business interest
  • Faster write-offs for business investments
  • Excise tax on distilled spirits waived for use in hand sanitizer
  • Above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions up to $300 and increase in limits on individual and corporate deductions for charitable contributions
  • Waives tax penalty for early withdrawal of retirement funds

Financial protection

  • Suspends negative consumer credit reporting until 120 days after pandemic in the case of forbearance of payment modification

State and local government aid

  • $150 billion for Coronavirus Relief Fund for states
  • Includes anti-abortion Hyde Amendment restrictions- put in to keep Planned Parenthood from accessing any relief funds
  • $45 billion for FEMA Disaster Relief Fund for state, local, and tribal governments
  • $25 billion for transit agencies
  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), $1.5 billion for Economic Development Administration, and $50 million for Manufacturing

Extension Partnership programs

  • Federal government covers 50% of unemployment compensation for state, local, and tribal governments


  • $400 million for Election Administration Grants

Foreign policy

  • $350 million for migration and refugee assistance
  • $258 million for international disaster assistance