After days of around-the-clock negotiations, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved $2 trillion in emergency spending just before midnight to help out workers, companies and state governments in deep financial distress because of coronavirus, locking in the largest economic stimulus in American history.
The measure promises a $1,200 payout to millions of Americans, which officials hope will start being sent out in April, and increased jobless aid. It also creates a government bailout fund for distressed businesses.
It would also substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, extending them for the first time to freelancers and gig workers and adding $600 per week on top of the usual payment.
Direct payment to most Americans.
$250 billion to bolster unemployment insurance.
$350 billion in loans for small businesses that may be forgiven if firms use them to keep workers on payroll.
$500 billion for hard-hit industries and states and $50 billion for airlines.
$130 billion to hospitals.
$150b billion to help state and local governments.
Tucked into the largest bailout in U.S. history are a range of provisions that stand to benefit specific industries and interest groups, and it doesn’t entirely block the president and his family from accessing funds for their businesses, as Democrats claim.
The stimulus bill is 880 pages long. Read it here.
The Senate has left D.C. after passing the stimulus package and not return until April 20, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced.
The package now heads to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority will get a chance to chime in before sending it to President Trump’s desk for final approval.
The House plans to take up the measure tomorrow. But Pelosi told reporters that she expects the a debate on the floor. This is a shift from previous statements in which she said she wanted to pass the measure by unanimous consent - a nearly unheard of process for such a large piece of legislation that could be blocked by one lawmaker.