President Trump Signs $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package Into Law. Here's What's in It
Author: Alana Abramson
President Donald Trump signed a historic $2.2 trillion package into law on Friday that, once implemented, is expected to provide relief for the millions of Americans, businesses and hospitals suffering after the coronavirus pandemic simultaneously ravaged the country’s health care and economic systems.
The bill, the biggest economic stimulus package in United States history, was passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday and by voice vote with near-universal support in the House on Friday. It includes direct $1,200 cash payments to many Americans; $150 billion to help the healthcare industry; $500 billion for state and local governments and companies; and $350 billion in loans and assistance for small businesses.
While the process ultimately yielded a bipartisan outcome – rare in today’s Congress – it was not without hiccups along the way. Senate Democrats blocked procedural attempts to move Republicans initial version of a bill forward, arguing that their colleagues were prioritizing corporations over workers and hospitals and continuing pushing for more reinforcements in those areas and stringent oversight measures. After days of intense negotiations on Capitol Hill between Senate Democrats and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, lawmakers finally announced a deal after what seemed like endless debate on the Senate floor early in the morning on Wednesday. And it still took nearly another 24 hours before the actual text of the bill was released and voted on.
“We packed weeks or perhaps months of the legislative process into five days. Representatives from both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have forged a bipartisan agreement in highly partisan times, with very little time to spare,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor in remarks preceding the Senate vote late Wednesday night. “It’s been a long, hard road, with a remarkable number of twists and turns, but for the sake of millions of Americans, it will be worth it.”
Even though the measure was easily approved in the House by voice vote, that too was not without a last minute hitch. Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie insisted on forcing a recorded vote, which would have required 216 lawmakers present. In anticipation of this request, members of both parties preemptively headed to the nation’s Capitol on Friday, openly grumbling about the risks they were posing to themselves and others. While Massie did request a recorded vote, there were enough lawmakers in the chamber to overrule him.
And even after the bill was sent to the President’s desk, partisan tensions were still on display. Only Republican lawmakers were present at the signing. Neither Schumer nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who were instrumental in the negotiations, had been invited, according to their offices.
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