A historic time calls for historic legislation. That's the message from Washington today as the Senate celebrates the passing of the unprecedented $2.3 trillion bill aimed at stabilizing the economy and providing financial relief for millions of Americans.
After hours of negotiations and a few unexpected speed bumps, senators rallied late Wednesday night to unanimously pass the largest economic relief bill in America's history.
Now it's in the hands of the House of Representatives which is expected to pass the bill by voice vote on Friday, allowing members in self-quarantine or in states with shelter in place restrictions to stay home.
"Right now we have the legislation that will come to the floor tomorrow, I anticipate and feel certain that we will have a strong bipartisan vote," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters on Thursday.
The 880-page measure includes sending checks of $1,200 directly to most Americans with an additional $500 per child. It also includes $150 billion designated for hospitals, bolstered unemployment benefits, the suspension on federal student loan payments, $377 billion for small businesses to cover payroll, rent, and utilities, $450 billion in loans for large corporations, and $25 billion in grants to the airline industry.
"Our members put forward a bold plan to send cash to households, stand up historic emergency loans for Main Street, stabilize key sectors, and put the full might of Congress behind our doctors, nurses, hospitals, health care providers, and the race for treatments and vaccines. I couldn't be prouder," said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
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Republicans also included two pro-life protections in the bill. The Hyde Amendment – which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions – will be enforced for supplemental appropriations to hospitals and health care providers. And the Hyde Amendment will still apply to the money in this bill that was set aside for community health initiatives and graduate teaching health centers.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood does not meet the "small business" requirements, so they will be ineligible to receive infusions of cash through the small business loan section.
President Trump supports the bill and he's expected to sign it as soon as it reaches his desk, and lawmakers are already suggesting a phase 4 relief bill could be coming as the number of confirmed cases increases and more businesses shut down across the country.