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The United States Senate unanimously passed on Wednesday night a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.
The 880-page bill was passed 96-0 with four Republican Senators not being able to vote because they were in quarantine due to the coronavirus.
The Washington Post reported:
The bill would extend $1,200 to most American adults and $500 for most children, create a $500 billion lending program for businesses, cities and states, and a $367 billion employee retention fund for small businesses. It would direct $130 billion to hospitals and provide four months of expanded unemployment insurance, among other things.
Lawmakers and the White House were bombarded with lobbyists and special interest groups seeking assistance during the negotiations, and the price tag rose from $850 billion to $2.2 trillion in just a matter of days.
Before the vote began, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged his Democratic colleagues to vote in favor of the compromise.
“Over the past few days, the Senate has stepped into the breach. 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,” Schumer explained to his colleagues. “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. It will be worth it to get help to millions of small businesses and save tens of millions of jobs.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he would immediately sign the bill once it landed on his desk.
Over the weekend, Republicans and Democrats came to an agreement on a bill both sides could live with. At the last minute, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blew the negotiations up. She had a far-left wish list that included things like limiting airlines’ fuel emissions, bailing out the United States Postal Service and a federal $15 minimum wage.
When it became clear that Pelosi wouldn’t get her demands, she said the House would pass their own Wuhan coronavirus relief package.
The bill will now make its way to the House. They are expected to vote on the bill on Friday, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said.