BREAKING: House Approves Coronavirus Stimulus Package

The House has voted to pass the $2 trillion stimulus package, the CARES Act, which would offer assistance to those who have lost jobs, as well as aid to businesses and industries that have been affected by income losses in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 novel coronavirus. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for a final approval.

To date, COVID-19 has killed nearly 1,300 people in the United States. As many in the United States stay at home to help stem the spread of the virus, and as many states have banned large gatherings, restaurants and entertainment venues have been among the hardest-hit industries.

Yesterday, it was announced that more than 3 million people had filed for unemployment benefits in a single week, marking the largest number since the Department of Labor began tracking those numbers in 1967.

Key provisions in the stimulus package include: Individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples who earn up to $150,000 receiving $2,400. The act also gives $500 per each child in the household. Those provisions phase out at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples without children. The act also provides for an additional $600 weekly in unemployment benefits for four months. Small businesses, independent contractors and sole proprietors would be eligible for various grants and loans.

Many music industry organizations have already begun weighing in on the House vote.

“Now more than ever, it is our collective responsibility to protect our music creators. They have not only remained committed to their craft of making music during this unprecedented time but have also provided a sense of unity, connection and passion, which will only strengthen our nation in the days to come. To that end, today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the historic stimulus package and we’re grateful to all Members of Congress and their relentless efforts on getting this Bill passed. The “CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act),” is critical to recharge the economy while providing relief to so many American businesses and workers, and we’re thrilled that certain provisions will include relief for many music professionals who are independent contractors, small business owners or self-employed.” said SESAC’s John Josephson.

BMI’s Mike O’Neill said, “We are extremely pleased that the federal stimulus package will offer relief to America’s songwriters and composers, who are, in many cases, our nation’s ultimate small businesses. Thanks to the CARES Act, music creators who are independent contractors, sole proprietors or self-employed, will be eligible for small business loans, emergency grants, unemployment insurance, payroll tax deferrals and more, which will all help protect their livelihoods during this challenging time. We would like to thank Senator Blackburn, Representative Deutch, Representative Roby, Majority Leader Hoyer and the many music organizations involved in this effort,  for their steadfast dedication to ensuring the needs of America’s music creators were addressed in this critical Act. We applaud Congress for swift action on this important legislation and look forward to President Trump signing so that this assistance can begin flowing to all those in the music industry, and beyond, who desperately need it.”

Recording Academy Interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, “The Recording Academy thanks the Congressional leaders who worked with the music community to craft a bill that allows the music to play on. In navigating this unprecedented crisis, all music industry professionals across the U.S., many of whom rely on multiple gigs for their livelihood, can be grateful that they are included in this extraordinary effort to help Americans. We will now turn our attention to helping music makers and others who make a living in our industry navigate the process of getting the financial assistance they need while anticipating the day when they can return to providing the soundtrack to our nation, which we’ll all need when this crisis is over.”

RIAA’s Mitch Glazier said, “We applaud Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Senate leaders and the Administration for their hard work to pass this legislation, which includes direct financial aid to Americans in need, including musicians who face unique circumstances during this national emergency. We are grateful that this bill contains access to expanded unemployment insurance and small business loans, both of which will ensure that hundreds of thousands of musicians’ families across the country can continue to pay their bills, put food on the table, and care for their children during this public health and economic crisis. We applaud the federal government in taking this step to care for the millions of people in our country who are in such desperate need.”

“We are reminded in difficult times like these how music unites us, and we are thankful that all sides have joined in solidarity to help everyone affected by this crisis, particularly our community of songwriters and composers who bring so much joy to the world. ASCAP will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that American music creators can weather this storm and continue sharing their incredible talents with the world.” said ASCAP President/Chairman Paul Williams.

“We are grateful that support is coming for millions of American songwriters and music creators whose lives and livelihoods have been upended by this crisis. In particular, music creators who are self-employed and those who own or work for small businesses will now receive emergency assistance, thanks to the music community rallying together to draw attention to their needs. As the entire music industry faces an uncertain future, ASCAP stands ready to do our part to help music creators endure these difficult times.” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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