US Senate Passes $2 Trillion Rescue Package To Combat Coronavirus

Grant Boone
March 26, 2020

The U.S. Senate unanimously voted late Wednesday to pass a $2.2 trillion emergency relief package to help protect American livelihoods, hospitals, and an economy rattled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five days of arduous talks produced the bill, creating tensions among Congress' top leaders, who each took care to tend to party politics as they maneuvered and battled over crafting the legislation.

Outbreaks have grown nationwide, but with particular fear that NY could be the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation was still being drafted but McConnell said the Senate would vote on it Wednesday.

"This bill is far from flawless, but we believe the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick consideration and passage", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, calling the legislation "the largest rescue package in American history".

The bill seeks to provide $367 million in loans to distressed small businesses and grant them an "employee retention" tax credit so that they can keep employees on payroll and cover half of their paychecks. More than 280 New Yorkers have died from the virus, a death toll more than double that of any other state.

"A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating outcome: Unless the bill if fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work", they said in a statement.

The state has around 30,000 confirmed cases, he added, with 285 deaths.

"This crisis is different from anything we've ever seen in our country", Brown told reporters on Wednesday.

The economic relief package is now expected to move swiftly through both chambers of Congress and be signed by President Trump before the end of the week.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the deal, which was worked out principally by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over several days of marathon negotiations.

Over half the USA population is now under some form of lockdown as authorities nationwide seek to stem the outbreaks.

Wall Street stocks closed mixed Wednesday as the markets awaited a vote on the rescue package, the third of its kind in the past month, but by far the largest.

The sweeping package will impact a broad swath of American society, with some elements potentially lasting longer than the health crisis.

Full details of the package have yet to be released, but some elements of the proposal are being touted among Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that four hospitals being built in NY with federal assistance "are moving along very well, ahead of schedule".

They will also qualify for the additional four months of extra payments that this bill provides to everyone who collects unemployment. "It is a very, very short-term solution", Duber-Smith said.

Later, Trump appeared to retreat from his Easter goal at a news conference alongside Fauci.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

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