Thursday, Oct 01

Trump approves 105-billion-dollar virus aid

Meanwhile, White House is solidifying plans for a third phase of the response, which would include two rounds of direct cash payments to citizens.
19.03.2020 - 10:25

US President Donald Trump signed a sweeping multibillion-dollar emergency aid package into law late Wednesday to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier in the day, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill from the House of Representatives to provide billions of dollars in emergency aid. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act cleared the Senate floor in a 90-8 vote.

FUNDS WILL BE SENT TO AMERICANS

"The Act makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to help the Nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak," said Trump in a statement.

It includes free coronavirus testing and paid family and sick leave for many Americans who otherwise lack the benefit. It applies to employees who work for companies that have between 50 and 500 employees. Companies below the lower employee threshold can apply for a waiver.

The Joint Committee on Taxation pegged the estimated cost of the package at $105 billion.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his support but called the Democratic measure imperfect and said it has "real shortcomings," including gaps in sick leave coverage and potential financial impacts on small businesses.

"I will vote to pass their bill," McConnell said. "This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of even a subset of workers.”

The Senate meanwhile is working on a separate package in tandem with the White House that would include sending funds directly to Americans as well as other stimulus measures as fears of a recession caused by the outbreak persist.