President Trump on Friday signed into law the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history, backing a $2 trillion measure designed to respond to the coronavirus, COVID 19 pandemic while the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 100,000.
Under the law, the government will deliver direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses battered by the crisis. The legislation will send direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000, and an additional $500 per child. It will substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, and for the first time will extend the payments to freelancers and gig workers.The deadly disease broke the longest bull-market in history and caused 3.3 million Americans to lose their jobs last week.
Trump signed the measure in the Oval Office hours after the House approved it by voice vote and less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed it. “We’re so pleased to be able to have passed on the floor—practically unanimously—this important bill, CARES. And we want to demonstrate that we do care for the American people in every way,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Ca.) said after the bill was passed by voice vote.
While majority support for the measure didn’t appear threatened, House members are currently scattered across the country and with domestic air travel schedules slashed due to plummeting demand. This was the logistical and procedural obstacle that Pelosi had hoped to avoid.
The U.S. is now the global center of the coronavirus outbreak, with the more than 100,000 American diagnoses passing the number of cases in China. The disease’s devastating spread in the U.S. and the economic toll that countermeasures to contain it have wrought led Pelosi to begin on Thursday to talk about the contents of another aid bill that would come after the one the House is currently working to pass.
The measure will also offer $377 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses and establish a $500 billion government lending program for distressed companies reeling from the crisis, including allowing the administration the ability to take equity stakes in airlines that received aid to help compensate taxpayers. It will also send $100 billion to hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic.
The law was the product of days of talks between members of Mr. Trump’s administration and Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. And even before Mr. Trump held a bill signing on Friday afternoon, congressional leaders said they expected to negotiate more legislative responses to the pandemic in the coming months.
Pelosi said in an interview Thursday that in the next recovery package, she wants to go above and beyond the current bill’s level of direct cash payments to Americans. The bill passed by the Senate provides for $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per child.
“We do want to see more direct payments” to Americans, Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV Thursday afternoon. “We had much higher direct payments in our House bill, and we would hope to see that we could do that again.” Family and medical leave and workplace safety would also be a focus for the House in the next aid bill, she said.
For an update on the fast growing pandemic, please visit: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/