With rare bipartisanship and speed, Washington is about to deliver massive, unprecedented legislation to speed help to people and businesses as the new coronavirus pandemic takes a devastating toll on the U.S. economy and health-care system.
The House is set to pass the sprawling $2.2-trillion measure on Friday morning after an extraordinary 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday. President Donald Trump marvelled at the unanimity Thursday and is eager to sign the package into law.
The relief can hardly come soon enough. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday the economy “may well be in recession” already, and the government reported a shocking 3.3-million burst of weekly jobless claims, more than four times the previous record. The U.S. death toll has surpassed 1,200 from the virus.
It is unlikely to be the end of the federal response. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that issues like more generous food stamp payments, aid to state and local governments and family leave may be revisited in subsequent legislation.
“There’s so many things we didn’t get in … that we need to,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday.
The legislation will pour $1,200 direct payments to individuals and a flood of subsidized loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses facing extinction in an economic shutdown caused as Americans self-isolate by the tens of millions. It dwarfs prior Washington efforts to take on economic crises and natural disasters, such as the 2008 Wall Street bailout and former president Barack Obama’s first-year economic recovery act.
But key elements are untested, such as grants to small businesses to keep workers on payroll and complex lending programs to larger businesses. Millions of rebate payments will go to people who have retained their jobs.
Source: Read Full Article