• Thomas Parker

Trump signed coronavirus relief bill into law

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Following its passage by Congress, President Trump signed a "phase 2" coronavirus spending bill into law on Wednesday. The bill seeks to address economic damage done by the coronavirus through providing free testing and paying Americans directly for being sick.

The bill, which includes over $100 billion of spending, is one part of a larger set of measures expected to pass through Congress in the near future, which could total as much as $1 trillion. The legislation requires private health insurers to pay for all testing costs for anyone with medical coverage. The government will also subsidize testing costs for anyone enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

The bulk of the spending will come in the form of providing paid sick leave for Americans affected by the coronavirus directly. The new law requires municipalities and private businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide at least two weeks of paid sick leave for those who miss work due to a coronavirus infection, or for those who are required to take care of a family member who is infected.

While a significant majority of firms with fewer than 500 employees provide paid sick leave, nearly 90% of Americans who work for companies with 500 or more employees already receive paid sick leave.

The bill also enables workers to take another 10 weeks off, during which time the government will cover two-thirds of their pay.

State governments will receive subsidies to extend unemployment payments should the rate of unemployment in a state rise above 10%. The federal government will offer states interest-free loans to cover the cost of those benefits.

The bill also provides additional funding for Medicaid generally, food banks, meal delivery services, and lunches for low-income students.

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