BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Senate passes $2.2 trillion economic rescue passage
By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) An act of Congress that will provide cash assistance to families, workers and businesses and provide relief on mortgages and rent will be taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives after passing in the Senate moments ago.
In a 24-minute address to the people of Guam, Congressman Michael San Nicolas clarified erroneous information Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero spread on the Patti Arroyo show this morning regarding the relief package. Contrary to the governor's statements, the measure DOES include the territories.
And in a big way.
If passed as is, every person who filed tax returns for tax year 2018 or 2019 and who has a social security number will receive $1,200 in direct cash assistance. Children will receive $500 each. In a household of mom, dad, and three kids, for example, the cash assistance will be $3,900. This will be a one-time payout for now.
Congress also created a Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUI) program, which will provide unemployment paychecks to unemployed and furloughed residents of $330 per week. Each of those unemployed or furloughed also will receive another $600 per week in federal cash assistance.
Help with the bills:
If passed, residents with mortgages through bank loans that are federally backed will not need to pay their mortgages for 180 days. The interest on the mortgages will accrue, but will be added to the back end.
For renters, they need not worry for four months: evictions will be suspended during that period.
Businesses with more than 100 employees will receive payroll tax credits to cover up to 50 percent of their employees's wages. There are some conditions for qualification.
Businesses with 100 or fewer employees will receive payroll tax credits to cover up to 100 percent of their employees's wages.
These credits are retroactive to March 13 - two days before the emergency began in Guam - and will flow through December 31, 2020. This is why Mr. San Nicolas has pleaded with private sector shops to continue paying their employees.
The credits also will include expenses for health benefits.
Our governments and hospitals:
The Medicare Accelerated Hospital Payment Program will provide up front cash flow in a six-month lump sum payment to help hospitals deal with liquidity issues, and to purchase supplies.
Congress also is appropriating $100 billion for state and local governments to have money to combat COVID-19.
Another $55 million will be set aside for the insular areas - including Guam and the NMI - to purchase medical supplies and equipment. For Guam alone, another $117 million will be available for health care needs and to absorb budgetary losses.
The congressman estimates that, if this measure passes the House and is signed by the President, Guam will receive a minimum of $315 million and up to about $503 million in aid.