Congress approves $484B economic relief package to help small business, hospitals, boost testing
Many lawmakers wore masks and gloves during the debate and vote.
Overwhelmingly today (Thursday) the House approved a $484 billion relief package to help small businesses, hospitals and first responders, as well as increase nationwide testing for the coronavirus.
The nearly half-a-trillion dollar relief package:
- $310 billion back into the depleted small business loan program known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- $120 billion for the smallest of businesses.
- $75 billion more to hospitals.
- $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
The vote was 388 to 5, with Independent Rep. Justin Amash voting “present.”.
New Yorker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the only Democrat to oppose the measure along with Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Georgia’s Jody Hice, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
On this fourth stimulus measure, a $484 billion piece of legislation, some Lawmakers returned to vote in person, wearing masks and gloves
Republicans insisted on the in-person vote, and many voiced concern that Congress was not yet back in session full-time, something currently scheduled for May 4. Pelosi, calling the day historic, signed the measure almost immediately afterward as congressional leaders stood well over six feet apart.
With her scarf over her face, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said:
“Our nation faces a deadly virus, a battered economy with tens of thousands of sick and some died, millions out of work. This is really a very, very, very sad day.We come to the floor with nearly 50,000 deaths, a huge number of people impacted. The uncertainty of it all. We have to be very prayerful.”
The Relief package now heads to President’s desk for his expected signature.
One week ago Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested an emergency $250 billion infusion of funds for PPP as the program was running out of cash, and for that reason Republicans blamed Democrats for what they saw as a partisan delay.
Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said:
“To those 4.4 million Americans who were laid off this week, Congress owes you an apology… They made a sacrifice, but they got sacrificed by politics last week. Shame on this body.”
House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer fired back, accusing the minority of “blatant politics,” accusing Republicans could have saved time by “agreeing to what Democrats proposed weeks ago which is now part of the current, far better legislation.”
And Democratic Leader continue saying:
“What did we get? A hundred and twenty additional billion for small businesses. We all talk about being for the small business. What this does is put another $120 billion in addition to what was already approved,”
Sources: NY FAMA – ABC News –
Cover Photo by ABC News
By Alex Ammohostianos