The White House and Congress have struck a major deal on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package. As of late Wednesday (March 25), the Senate unanimously approved the emergency relief bill. The Senate vote now sends the bill to the House, where Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, announced a vote to approve it Friday (March 27) morning. President Trump said he intends to sign it immediately.
The package is poised to help the burden currently being carried by small businesses and the working-class community amid the economic slowdown caused by the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The legislation, which is expected to be enacted within days, is the biggest economic relief package in modern American history, dwarfing the $800 billion stimulus bill passed in 2008 during the financial crisis. While the package still needs to pass Congress and Senate approval, relief is said to include $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
In addition, individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400—and an additional $500 per each child. The payment would scale down by income, phasing out entirely at $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for couples without children.
According to a CNN report, negotiators also discussed providing four months of unemployment benefits, extending to self-employed workers. The bill would ensure the Small Business Administration could serve as a guarantor for loans of up to $10 billion for small businesses to ensure they can maintain their payrolls and pay off their debts. In addition, the bill would provide $130 billion in funding for hard-hit hospitals as well as $150 billion for state and local governments.
The country is waiting with baited breath for final approval. Challenges remain as several members of Congress have tested positive for the virus and many more have self-quarantined, making voting intricately more difficult. Updates are said to be forthcoming.
*Editors note: This post has been updated to reflect the passage of the bill by the Senate on March 25.