- Trump signed a $US2 trillion economic relief package on Friday to shore up an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
- It will directly send $US1,200 checks to millions of Americans and provide zero-interest loans to small businesses employing fewer than 500 workers.
- It’s also set to dramatically expand unemployment benefits.
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President Donald Trump on Friday signed a $US2 trillion economic stimulus package to mitigate the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the US economy. It will inject a flood of cash into the economy and make it available for businesses grappling with the fallout, as well as bolster the safety net for average Americans.
“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” he said at the signing.
Trump also expressed confidence that there would be “a tremendous rebound” for the economy at the end of the pandemic.
It’s the largest stimulus package ever assembled and passed in American history. It will send checks to millions of Americans and dramatically expand unemployment benefits by adding $US600 per week to state benefits – a priority among lawmakers after 3.3 million people filed for unemployment last week, a record spike.
The legislation will also provide distressed businesses and industries with hundreds of billions of dollars in zero-interest loans, tax breaks, and other emergency aid. That portion of the bill sparked criticism from progressive lawmakers like Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who attacked it on the House floor as a corporate bailout.
States and municipal governments are also slated to get $US150 billion in additional federal funding to fight the outbreak under the relief bill. Another $US100 billion will be directed to hospitals and healthcare facilities.
The House passed the legislation on Friday after the Senate approved it in a 96-0 vote on Wednesday.
The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged vast swaths of the American economy. It has sparked shutdowns that are fuelling layoffs at a breakneck pace. Bars, restaurants, nail salons, and other businesses across the country have closed their doors in a bid to keep the virus from spreading.
Many Americans are also being urged by public-health officials to avoid leaving their homes.
Those factors created a sense of urgency among top Democrats and the Trump administration, which quickly negotiated the federal spending package over the past two weeks. Four members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.