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Senate Passes $2T Coronavirus Stimulus Package After Nearly A Week Of Tough Negotiations

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Senate Passes $2T Coronavirus Stimulus Package After Nearly A Week Of Tough Negotiations

The United States Senate  approved to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package late Wednesday after five days of tough negotiations between Democratic and Republican members.

What Happened

The senators voted 96-0 in favor of the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," or "CARES Act."

The bill provides for measures including giving $1,200 in direct payments to a majority of individual Americans, and $500 to children.

$500 billion has been assigned to the treasury department to be granted in loan and loan guarantees to corporations severely impacted by the pandemic. Another $350 billion would be set aside for loans to small businesses, which are struggling to keep their payroll.

$250 billion would be dedicated to provide relief for unemployed workers, and $100 billion has been assigned for boosting healthcare.

"96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA!," President Donald Trump tweeted after the Senate passed the bill.

Why It Matters

Negotiations over the specifics of the bill were taking place since last weekend. Democrats disagreed with what they said was a priority given to corporations over ordinary workers in the legislation.

They also argued over the authority given to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the $500 billion fund assigned for corporation loans, without any provision for "oversight."

Members from both factions suggested progress in negotiations early Wednesday, but the bill hit another roadblock later with Republican objecting to the additional payment of $600 a week assigned to unemployed workers.

Vermont senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told the New York Times that he wouldn't sign the bill if the Republicans didn't withdraw their objection, which they later did.

What's Next

The legislation will next go to the House of Representatives on Friday, which will conduct a voice vote.

The House is currently out of session, and the move would ensure that the representatives can vote without needing to be physically present in the chamber.

President Donald Trump has said that he would "immediately" sign the bill once it gets to his table.

At least 69,171 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. at press time, and 1,050 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

 

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