Senate passes historic $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package

Senate White House reach deal on $2 trillion stimulus package to lessen COVID-19’s economic impact		
		
	Catherine Shu

			@catherineshu	 
		7 hours

President Donald Trump has said that he will sign the legislation, which provides $1,200 in direct cash payments for most Americans, expanded unemployment benefits including those to freelancers and independent contractors, a $350 billion fund for government-backed loans for small businesses and $500 billion for distressed industries. She said the initial draft of the bill that McConnell presented Sunday was a "non-starter" and Democratic chairs of committees in the House of Representatives worked to shift its focus from corporations to workers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the compromise wasn't ideal, but was far better than initial versions of the bill.

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday lambasted Republican senators who had objected to provisions in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that they said would incentivize unemployment, accusing them of fixating on minor perks for workers amid a crisis. "This must be fixed immediately, either by amending the Senate deal to increase SNAP and/or immediately passing a stand-alone bill that does so".

Individuals earning less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income would directly receive $1,200 each. "The details of that aid was one of the last major outstanding issues Tuesday night".

A voice vote is procedural move that would avoid a recorded roll call vote, which would have forced members now dispersed throughout the country to travel back to Washington to get the stimulus across the finish line. "The Senate is going to stand together, act together, and pass this historic relief package today".

Another $25 billion goes to public transit systems, $4.35 billion of that to NY - with $3.8 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose ridership collapsed as COVID-19 spread.

It will offer $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in emergency transit funding.

The Treasury Department will create a fund worth $500 billion or more to assist local and state governments and industries hit by the pandemic. Legislators inserted language into the bill that precludes companies majority-owned or controlled by any prominent figure in either the executive or legislative branches of government, including cabinet members and members of Congress, from tapping into the government loans or investments.

"That is a drop in the bucket as to need", Cuomo said, explaining NY is facing a revenue shortfall of up to $15 billion while swiping the coronavirus package as offering "quote-unquote relief". "Graham and the others, they voted for a trillion dollars in tax breaks for the 1% and large corporations and now they're really anxious that a low-income worker might receive extended unemployment plus $600 a week", Sanders said. States including NY have already expressed concern that the current deal is not enough, and many lawmakers feel additional legislation will be needed. "You're literally incentivizing taking people out of the workforce at a time when we need critical infrastructure supplied with workers".

Pelosi has been holding regular calls with her Democratic lawmakers to keep them updated as has the Republican House leadership for their side. Companies would also be able to defer paying the 6.2-percent Social Security payroll tax.

Sanders threatened earlier Wednesday to hold his support for the bill unless there was more oversight over $500 billion for corporate help. But this latest deal eclipses the earlier packages in scope and spending. It will pump trillions into an economy devastated by the coronavirus. France, Spain and Italy have launched similar programs. "So many people are being put out of work through no fault of their own".

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