Congress passes $484B for small businesses, hospitals

Politics and government

After a voice vote from the Senate with approval, the House passed Thursday a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill to fund a small-business loan program, as well as help to increase testing. 

The measure, which now heads to the desk of President Donald Trump, who has expressed that he would sign it, comes after the late-March approval of the $2 trillion CARES Act that has already sent many $1,200 checks to Americans affected by the coronavirus, as well as $367 billion in loans for small businesses.

With the loan program in need of replenishment and with 26 million people requesting unemployment benefits over the last month, additional aid has proved to be in dire need as developments with COVID-19 continue.  

The federal bill includes: 

  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program that gives small businesses loans that could be forgiven if used to keep workers on payroll during the pandemic.
  • $60 billion for the Small Business Administration disaster assistance program.
  • $25 billion to help increase COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
  • $75 billion in grants for hospitals. 

Thursday’s bill brings federal funding to a total of $2.4 trillion throughout four relief measures, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

The passage comes as the nation reaches at least 873,000 COVID-19 cases and 49,748 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to a database by Johns Hopkins. 

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