After days of negotiations between the White House and Democrats, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday night to approve an unprecedented $2 trillion economic stimulus plan to respond to the negative effects of the Coronavirus, mixing direct aid to Americans will billions of dollars in emergency help for small and large businesses.
"Our nation is obviously going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, just before the final vote.
The tally was 96-0. The four Senators who missed the vote were in isolation over the virus. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the only Senator who has tested positive at this point.
At the White House, officials hailed the agreement, which took four days of at times difficult negotiations.
"This is going to be enormous help for American workers and the American economy," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led the negotiations with Senators for the White House.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the unprecedented response," Mnuchin added.
Appearing with Mnuchin at the White House on Wednesday, President Trump praised the package.
"We're going to take care of the American worker, we're going to take care of the companies that fuel this country," Mr. Trump told reporters.
Secretary @stevenmnuchin1: "Our expectation is this bill passes tonight and gets to the House tomorrow. And they pass it. We need to get this money into the American economy and American workers." pic.twitter.com/liCxc4lMHj— CSPAN (@cspan) March 25, 2020
The full text of the 880 page bill is available here.
The highlights of the package include:
+ Direct payments to Americans of $1200 per person, totaling $300 billion. The payments would go to any adult with a valid Social Security number.
+ Families would also get an addition $500 per child.
+ The size of the checks would begin to phase out at $75,000 per year of income.
+ "Supercharged" unemployment benefits, providing extra money for four months of joblessness.
+ $150 billion in medical help for hospitals.
+ $150 billion for state and local governments to deal with falling tax revenues.
+ $350 billion in help for small businesses.
🚨BREAKING🚨 @BudgetHawks has a full summary table of the $2.2 Trillion CARES Act. Read here: https://t.co/EfPR0PVvPh pic.twitter.com/N2p0k67Zf2— Marc Goldwein (@MarcGoldwein) March 26, 2020
House approval is still needed to send the plan to President Trump for his signature.
That vote is expected on Thursday or Friday.
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