March 19 (UPI) -- Senate Republicans on Thursday evening introduced a $1 trillion proposal for coronavirus relief that includes direct payments to Americans.
The 247-page proposal is the third piece of legislation introduced by Congress aiming to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected all 50 states and closed many businesses as health officials have encouraged Americans to stay home and avoid large gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill contains four major components: "direct financial help" for Americans, "rapid relief" for small businesses, "significant steps" to stabilize the economy and additional support for healthcare workers and patients.
The plan includes cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with the sum increasing by $500 for each child for taxpayers beneath a certain income threshold.
It would also extend the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, allowing corporations to delay estimated tax payments until Oct. 15 and employers and self-employed people to delay payroll taxes.
Companies with fewer than 500 employees would be entitled to a small business loan for payroll, salaries, mortgages, rent, utilities or other debt obligations, capped at $10 million, or the average monthly payments.
It includes provisions to increase the hiring of healthcare professionals and would require all private health plans to cover coronavirus testing without cost-sharing.
Also included is up to $50 billion for airlines, $8 billion for cargo air carriers and $150 billion for other severely distressed businesses.
"We're here, and we are ready to act as soon as an agreement with our colleagues across the aisle can be reached," McConnell said.
"We have to put the workers first," he said. "We don't want these industries to go under, but we don't want the dollars that are put there to go to corporate executives or shareholders. They must go to the workers first."