Congress approves a $ 900 billion auxiliary invoice

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA on Friday, December 18, 2020. Congress faces a midnight deadline to pass a pandemic relief measure as part of a massive government spending bill or another stopgap measure to help fund the Maintain government through at least the weekend while talks continue. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Congress on Sunday reached an agreement on a $ 900 billion coronavirus aid package, a long-belated effort to stimulate the American healthcare system and economy collapsing under the weight of the pandemic.

Congress leaders announced a deal on a bill that would send new federal aid to households, small businesses and health care providers for the first time in months, and fund the government through September 30 – after days of efforts to start and stop a deal. They haven’t released any text on the more than $ 2 trillion legislation that they will hopefully pass the next day.

“We finally have the bipartisan breakthrough the country needs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said in the Senate Sunday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., called the plan a “package that provides much-needed funds to help secure the lives and livelihoods of the American people.” save when the virus accelerates. ” They called the plan inadequate and realized that they would be pushing for more relief spending soon after President-elect Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20.

The legislature plans to pass the Aid and Financing Act on Monday.

To avoid a government shutdown that would begin Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET, Congress approved a one-day spending measure that will keep the lights on until Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. ET. The House passed the measure on Sunday evening, and the Senate intends to approve it before midnight.

The deal for one of the largest bailouts in US history follows months of snooping on Capitol Hill over how best to tackle a one-off crisis. Just two months after Congress passed the $ 2 trillion CARES bill in March, Democrats moved quickly to add trillion dollars in more support. The GOP initially downplayed the need for more aid and then took a more limited approach over the summer than the Democrats wanted.

A new round of aid cannot come soon enough for the millions of Americans who have tried to scrape together enough money to buy food and housing amid persistent public health restrictions.

“The American people have a lot to celebrate in this legislation. But of course the agreement we have reached is far from perfect,” said Schumer on Sunday.

What’s in the bill

The relief plan calls for direct payments of $ 600 to most adults and $ 600 per child, Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement.

The Democrats said they would put $ 284 billion in small loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. Another $ 20 billion would be allocated to small business grants and $ 15 billion to live venues.

It would also add a $ 300 unemployment benefit and temporarily maintain pandemic-era programs that expand unemployment insurance eligibility. It was not immediately clear how long each of these actions would take.

If the unemployment benefit extension runs out the day after Christmas, 12 million people will lose unemployment insurance.

The move should also fund the distribution of the two FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines. Schumer said the bill would use $ 30 billion to “procure and distribute” vaccines.

Health care workers and senior government officials have started receiving gunfire, and widespread vaccination in the coming months will help the world come out of the shadow of the pandemic.

The bailout was also intended to relieve hospitals, many of which were struggling to keep up with a flood of Covid-19 patients. According to Pelosi and Schumer, $ 82 billion will be invested in schools and colleges.

The plan provides $ 25 billion in rental support and extends a federal eviction moratorium for an unspecified period, according to Democrats.

In addition, $ 13 billion will be invested in the benefits of the Dietary Supplement Support Program.

The deal came about after a last-minute battle over a Republican-backed provision that would have restricted the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending powers. Legislators eventually reached an agreement to wind down the credit facilities created by the CARES Act at the end of the year, use more than $ 400 billion for the remaining programs, and prohibit identical provisions being created in the future.

When lawmakers finally reach an agreement, aid to the nearly 8 million people who have fallen into poverty since June comes too late. Many congressmen say the proposal won’t go far enough to address the scale of the health and economic crises.

Progressives and some Republicans have pushed for larger direct payments and retroactive federal unemployment payments. A weekly $ 600 surcharge, which boosted millions of unemployed Americans in the early months of the pandemic, expired in the summer and took months before Congress agreed to reinstate it.

Schumer stressed that the Democrats would push for more relief in the new year. Your ability to pass another bill will be shaped by the Georgia Senate’s two runoff elections on January 5th that will determine whether the GOP retains control of the chamber.

Schumer signaled that they would again seek help from state and local governments, a provision many Republicans support but McConnell opposes.

The Senate majority leader has called for corporate liability coverage, but lawmakers brushed both issues aside during year-end talks. Both are likely to come up in the next round of talks after Congress passes the $ 900 billion package.

“It can not be the last word to ease Congress,” said Schumer of the bill.

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