Nearly $1 Trillion Plan Attempts to Counter Economic Effects of Coronavirus Pandemic
High-ranking negotiators on Capitol Hill reached an agreement Sunday on a nearly $1 trillion support package to counter the economic effects of COVID-19, finally providing aid to businesses and individuals and allocating money for the distribution of the long-awaited vaccines.
The agreement, announced by leaders in the Senate, would establish an additional temporary unemployment benefit of $300 and direct stimulus payments of $600 to most Americans, as well as a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, money for schools, healthcare providers, and tenants facing eviction.
On Monday, the lower house is expected to vote on the bill, said a spokeswoman for the Democratic Majority Leader in that House, Steny Hoyer. The House of Representatives would pass an interim spending bill for one day Sunday at midnight to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate will likely vote on Monday as well. Legislators are eager to leave Washington and finish their work in a tumultuous year.
"There will be another large bailout package for the American people," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, GOP, announcing the agreement on an aid bill that would total nearly $900 billion. "It's full of specific policies to help Americans in trouble who have waited too long." The final agreement is the largest spending initiative to date. It combines COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion government-wide financing plan and multiple additional taxes, health, and education measures.
Its approval approaches as coronavirus cases and deaths grow, and evidence accumulates that the economy is in trouble. The direct stimulus payment of $600 to most people is also half of what was paid in March, subject to the same income level limits. The individual payment for an individual begins to decrease for people earning $75,000 annually or more progressively. Those who earn more than $99,000 would receive nothing. Children are eligible for the $600 support.
Adult dependents would not qualify, but unlike the spring, mixed immigration status families would be eligible.
It also includes $330 million for another round of small business Paycheck Protection Program loans, although a smaller group of businesses would qualify than under the previous initiative.
The agreement also includes money for the production and distribution of vaccines, food assistance, rent payments, childcare, and schools.