US Senate leaders and the White House administration have passed a $2 trillion stimulus deal to lessen the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a bid to rescue the economy, both Chambers of Congress worked together for a prompt resolution and passed the huge legislation on Wednesday 25 March.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the deal alongside Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer saying “At last we have a deal. After days of intense discussion, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic… I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver for the country that has been waiting for us to step up.” Charles Schumer continued by saying, “Help is on the way, big help and quick help. We’re going to take up and pass this package to care for those who are now caring for us, and help carry millions of Americans through these dark economic times.”
The new legislation that is the first of its kind in both size and scope, is set to bolster the economy with cash and checks of $1,200 are being sent out to large swathes of the population. In addition, a newly created $367 billion loan program is providing assistance for small businesses and includes a six-month loan leniency, with an additional $500 billion ‘cash pot’ fund created for industries, cities and states.
And, with schools now closed, states on lockdown, businesses closed resulting in mass redundancies and thousands becoming ill, the additional provisions also encompass a massive boost to unemployment insurance, an extra $150 billion for state and local stimulus and an extra $130 billion for hospitals.
The new funding is in addition to the two smaller reserves already passed, the first of which helps the health-care system with a $8.3 billion emergency fund. The second fund of $100-billion-plus, is being used to bolster paid sick leave and provide free coronavirus testing, in addition to providing additional resources for unemployment insurance by increasing eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months.
The $500 billion ‘cash pot’ loan has been divided in to specific areas of need with $425 billion going to businesses, cities and states, $50 billion allocated to passenger airlines and an additional $8 billion for cargo airlines. $17 billion has been set aside for firms that are considered to be important to national security and President Trump has also stated that he would like to see some of the funds used to support the cruise ship industry, and hotels.
Currently there are still a number of issues to be resolved, and it is uncertain as to how the measures will halt the economic downturn. However, the unprecedented package will provide taxpayer assistance to millions of Americans and companies that have been effected by the COVID-19 crisis and the proposed bill is to be rushed through Congress, negating the need for public hearings or formal review.
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