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Senate passes $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill

COVID-19. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.

With a unanimous Senate vote late Wednesday, a $2-trillion stimulus package is now headed to the House, where they will discuss a spending bill aimed at shielding the economy from the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

Should it receive House and presidential approval, the legislation would be the most expensive and largest emergency aid package in the nation’s history, as well as the most critical in addressing the virus outbreak that has spread across the U.S. and has disrupted everyday life. 

The Senate voted unanimously late Wednesday to approve the package. The legislation will now head to the House, where it is expected to receive a vote as early as Thursday. 

“After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. In effect, this is a wartime level of investment for our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, from the Senate floor early Wednesday, according to a recorded stream via C-SPAN. 

The package is expected to set aside about $500 billion in aid for distressed corporations; $350 billion in loans for small businesses’ coverage of salaries and wages; $150 billion to states and local governments; and $100 billion for hospitals and medical needs.  

“Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect, but we believe the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick consideration and passage, and because many Democrats and Republicans were willing to do the serious and hard work, the bill is much better off than where it started,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, from the Senate floor Wednesday after the Senate released the proposal. 

The economic relief plan also includes direct payments to Americans as many employers and employees alike have been laid off due to temporary workplace closures. 

Based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns, payments could run up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, as well as $500 per child. Those who make up to $75,000 a year and couples who make up to $150,000 are expected to receive the checks. 

Payments would decrease for those who make anywhere between $75,000 and $99,000 per person or $198,000 for couples. 

“Our expectation is within three weeks we will have direct payments out where we have depository information,” said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during a White House briefing. 

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