A $ 900 billion aid package to stimulate a US economy hit by a pandemic cleared a procedural hurdle in the House of Representatives on Monday evening when the leaders of both chambers of congress wanted to pass the package in a marathon session.
With a margin of 227-180, the House approved a measure to allow the debate on the bill to continue, a necessary step before the actual votes on the contents of the package.
The White House-backed bill includes $ 600 in payments to most Americans, plus additional payments to millions of people unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a larger benefit round due to expire on Saturday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters at the Capitol that the Senate bill “will likely be too late, but we will be done tonight”.
At 5,593 pages, the sweeping bill, which spends $ 1.4 trillion on a number of federal programs through September next, is likely to be the last major bill for the 116th Congress, due to expire on January 3.
The net cost of coronavirus relief is around $ 350 billion, according to McConnell. More than $ 500 billion came from unspent money that Congress approved.
The stimulus package, the first Congress-approved aid since April, comes as the pandemic accelerates in the United States, infecting more than 214,000 people daily, and slowing economic recovery. More than 317,000 Americans have died.
The legislation also adds about $ 284 billion to a small business loan program and controls money to schools, airlines, transit systems, and vaccine distribution.
The small business loan and grant program known as the Paycheck Protection Program would exclude public companies from eligibility.
Amid reports that the Trump Organization has received previous aid, the bill includes disclosure requirements for the president, vice president, cabinet chiefs, lawmakers, and spouses, and prohibits these individuals from receiving future credit.
State and local governments struggling to fund the distribution of newly approved COVID-19 vaccines would receive $ 8.75 billion from Washington, including $ 300 million for minority and high-risk vaccination.
Over $ 22 billion would be allocated for advanced testing, contact tracing, and other activities to fight the highly contagious coronavirus, with nearly $ 20 billion in new funding to help manufacture and source vaccines, therapeutics, and related materials the biomedical advanced research and development support authority.
For those struggling to make rent payments due to widespread layoffs due to the pandemic, a moratorium on evictions would be extended until January, giving $ 25 billion to families struggling to stay in their homes, according to one Summary of legislation.
Parents who work at home during the pandemic are allowed to transfer unused flexible spending account funds for daycare and other expenses for the next two years.
SCRATCHED CLOTHING POINTS
The deal, drawn up in a rare weekend congressional session, omits the toughest sticking points, including Republicans ‘desire for liability coverage to protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits and Democrats’ demand for high cash spending on state and cash hardship local governments.
McConnell, interviewed by Fox News, vowed to renew his efforts to protect against corporate lawsuits in all coronavirus relief laws enacted by the future Biden administration in early 2021.
A last-minute dispute over Federal Reserve-managed emergency loan programs was also settled late Saturday night.
The measure is well below the $ 3 trillion called for in a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in May that the Republican-controlled Senate ignored.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi opened the debate on the compromise version by predicting a quick passage on Monday, calling it “a good bipartisan bill”.
Even so, it has punished Republicans for blocking major inflows of federal funding to state and local governments whose revenues have declined during the pandemic, despite struggling with unusual demands on their public health workers and first responders.
“This is a huge mistake,” Pelosi said, adding, “How could it be that we only have $ 160 billion for state and local government, but nearly $ 1 trillion for a loan and grant program for small businesses, including earmarked funds. ” Earlier this year to the Paycheck Protection Program.
‘HELP IS ON THE WAY’
President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has asked Congress to consider further incentives for his signing of the bill when he takes office on January 20. “My message to everyone out there who are having problems right now, help is on the way,” he said in a statement.
The bill would be the second largest stimulus package in US history after the roughly $ 2 trillion bill passed in March. Experts said money played a crucial role as social distancing measures shut off large parts of the economy.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)