Tuesday, 14 July, 2020

Senate unanimously passes coronavirus aid plan

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

		7 hours Senate White House reach deal on $2 trillion stimulus package to lessen COVID-19’s economic impact Catherine Shu @catherineshu 7 hours
Ginger Lawrence | 26 March, 2020, 17:53

The bill is now headed next to the House of Representatives, which must also pass it before it goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. Here's a glimpse into what the deal will offer.

The bill is the third congressional effort to aid America in the grip of the outbreak and is the largest effort taken thus far.

Most taxpayers will receive COVID-19 stimulus package checks as part of the $2 trillion legislation hammered out the last several days and announced overnight by Senate leaders and the Trump administration.

But the Senate still needs to vote on the bill, which will then be passed to the House.

The pandemic and the social distancing rules aimed to curb its spread have forced many businesses to resort to layoffs and furloughs.

Previous negotiations indicated that individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each. Cuomo, whose state has seen more deaths from the pandemic than any other, said, "I'm telling you, these numbers don't work". Couples making up to $150,000 would receive $2,400, with an additional $500 per child. Those with no or little tax liability would receive the same check as others. Unemployment insurance is also being increased, while payments on federally-held student loans are being temporarily suspended.

The agreement followed five days of negotiations between the Democrats, the Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, among others, as the package was unable to advance through the Senate as Democrats twice declined to sign off on it saying it focused too much on helping big corporations and didn't do enough for workers. It also includes some relief for small businesses and loans for larger key industries. The Republicans had to make concessions regarding that fund after the Democrats criticised it for lack of oversight.

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Last week, he brushed aside a reporter's question as to whether it was potentially harmful to Asian-Americans to give the disease that name, as well for an unnamed White House official to have privately termed it the "kung flu".

Earlier in the day, McConnell touted the bipartisan deal reached overnight to provide cash payments to Americans, help to struggling small businesses and more resources to state and local governments, as well as to hospitals.

The Democratic party has secured a total of $130 billion in funding for hospitals ($55 billion more than the original Republican proposal) and $150 billion for local governments.

The plan includes about $500 billion that can be used to back loans and assistance to companies, including $50 billion for loans to USA airlines, as well as state and local governments.

The Senate, where Republicans have a narrow majority, is scheduled to have a vote on the proposal in the afternoon; the bill is likely to pass there, but the timeframe is not clear for a vote in the lower chamber, which is now on recess due to the coronavirus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the House would not be able to pass the Senate bill by unanimous consent - a process she wanted to use to avoid calling members back to the Capitol as more lawmakers are self-quarantining due to exposure to the virus.