COVID-19 bill passes Senate, House vote expected early friday morning


March 26, 2020

The US Senate voted unanimously (96-0) to pass a $2 trillion stimulus package. The deal is expected to clear the US House of Representatives early Friday morning before being sent to President Donald Trump who has said he will sign the bill into law immediately.

The signing of the bill in the Senate came after intense negotiations.
The bill is said to be one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures passed
by Congress. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday evening that the
House plan is to pass the bill by voice vote, which would avoid forcing all Representatives
to return to Washington for a recorded roll call vote.

“Members are further advised that due to the limited
flight options, Members participating in self-quarantine, and several states
mandating stay-at-home orders,” Hoyer announced in a statement Wednesday

The deal was heavily scrutinized by some Republican senators
who argued that language incentivizing unemployment would keep some workers
from returning to their jobs because unemployment benefits would pay them more
money than they would make working. “This bill pays you more not to work
than if you were working,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said.
“You’re literally incentivizing taking people out of the workforce at a
time when we need critical infrastructure supplied with workers.”

The goal of the legislation is to flood the US economy with funds
during a period of time that has seen financial systems in chaos, including
having several states on lockdown. Numerous businesses have closed and the
numbers of infections and deaths from the COVID-19 have risen rapidly across
the US.

Key components of the proposal are $500 billion in loans for
distressed companies, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion set
aside for direct payments to individuals and families, and $250 billion in
unemployment insurance benefits. The plan would provide individuals who earn
$75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200
each. Married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400. There is also an
additional $500 per each child, according to news reports. Payments scale down
by income, phasing out entirely at $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for couples
without children.

In a press release, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s said the
bill also contained a provision that would prevent President Trump and his
family, as well as other top government officials and members of Congress, from
getting loans or investments from Treasury programs in the stimulus.

The US Senate is now expected to recess until April 20,
unless they are asked to return for further legislative action. “Our nation
obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in
living memory,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just before the

Category: Breaking News

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