The Senate will consider the House coronavirus relief bill this week. The House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act late Friday night, after President Trump signed on. Some employers would be required to offer workers affected by the pandemic paid sick and family leave, if it is related to the outbreak. The Treasury would subsidize the cost through tax credits. The bill also gives state governments relief by increasing federal contributions to unemployment insurance and Medicaid. It is unclear whether the Senate will pass the House bill or amend it.
About that payroll tax cut. The bill excludes Trump’s biggest ask, a payroll tax cut. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on the Sunday talk shows that the Administration might accept other forms of direct tax relief to individuals. “The president is also willing to consider refundable tax credits which in essence are another way of getting money to people,” he told Fox News. Asked on ABC if he thought the US has been thrown into a recession, he replied “I don’t think so,” but he predicted “a big rebound” later this year.
Will the IRS delay its filing deadline? Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Paul Mitchell (R-MI) want the IRS to extend the deadline by 90 days, to June 15. So do accountants and tax preparers. In their letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, the two lawmakers cite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s testimony that the move would not require congressional action. They also argue that it would help the economy, but that’s not a foregone conclusion.
What could help fight an economic slowdown? TPC’s Elaine Maag argues that lawmakers should focus on “enacting policies that can boost the economy and provide income security to people who are vulnerable. Because the [earned income tax credit] delivers targeted tax relief to low- and moderate-income workers, it would do both.”
Math matters, for your own and for public health. TPC’s Len Burman likes to celebrate math and loves pies, so he wanted to celebrate Pi Day with a party. But would it be wise to still have it in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic? He turned to math to help solve a classic economic problem posed by the need for social distancing: How best to consider private and social costs when determining risk. He canceled his party, but, more pie for him!
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