WASHINGTON, DC- The Senate on Wednesday finally passed the $2 trillion anti-coronavirus bill designed to support individuals and corporations through the current break down in the economy.
It is the biggest emergency support package in U.S. history, and astoundingly was unanimously passed 96-0.
Given the size, and diversity of the package negotiations were difficult, but the interest of the country ultimately prevailed.
The bill will now go before the House of Representatives which has been convened for 9:00am on Friday to consider the legislation. Voting will be electronically which will save the Congress having to assemble.
President Donald Trump has verbally indicated he supports the bill and will sign it in to law. A provision in the draft legislation will exempt Mr Trump, his company and his family from benefiting from the package, according to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office..While the bill does not nominate Mr Trump, it does preclude administration officials' participation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the bill as "a wartime level of investment for our nation." senators
Under the terms of the deal, the biggest beneficiary will be big corporations. They will a half-trillion dollars in loans, subject to being able to demonstrate financial hardship.
$350 billion has been allocated for loans to small businesses.
Citizens and residents will received $250 billion, on the basis of $1,200 for individuals and $500 for each child.
Working couples will receive twice the individual amount.
A last minute bid by Republican senators, led by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to cut allocations to individuals and families delayed the vote. An amendment the group proposed was not agreeg and the bill passed unanimously despite the group's objection.
Graham tried to explain why he and colleagues opposed the extent of individual payments. "This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," he said. "You're literally incentivizing taking people out of the workforce at a time when we need critical infrastructure supplied with workers."
Hospitals across the country will be able to access funding of up to $130 billion, while state and municipal governments that are cash-strapped due to the virus have been allocated $150 billion.
Airlines have been awarded $50 billion.
An oversight panel is to be set up, and an inspector general will be appointed, to oversee the breakdown of allocations.