In a rare bipartisan manner, the Senate voted unanimously Wednesday night to pass the largest emergency aid package in US history to alleviate the economic hardships that the coronavirus pandemic has placed on millions of Americans.
The measure goes beyond 96-0, an extraordinary unity show. The law will now go to the Democratic-led House, where it is expected to be approved Friday morning, followed by the signature of President Donald Trump.
The $ 2 trillion stimulus package for workers, businesses and hospitals is the culmination of a week-long marathon negotiation that lasts almost all the time, finally ending on Wednesday.
Some members – Republicans Rand Paul from Kentucky, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee from Utah, and John Thune from South Dakota – were forced to lose votes because they quarantined themselves, with Paul tested positive for the virus.
“The Senate has spun from one of the most controversial partisan periods in the country’s history to pass this 100-0 rescue package all in a quarter of this year,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) told reporters, referring to the indictment. “We will win this battle in the near future.”
The size of nearly 900 pages including up to $ 1,200 individual checks to topping out America at a cost of $ 250 billion; extended unemployment benefits of $ 250 billion for up to four months; $ 350 billion for small business loans, some of which will be forgiven; $ 500 billion loan program for companies; “Marshall Plan” worth $ 150 billion for hospitals and medical supplies; and $ 350 billion in emergency funds for state and local governments and communities.
The views of the Rotunda Capitol are reflected in the ambulance as negotiations on the COVID-19 economic bailout continue on Capitol Hill on March 24 in Washington, DC.
Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty
“Our health care system is not ready to care for the sick. Our workers do not work. Our business cannot do business. Our factories are unemployed. The gears of the American economy are stalled,” said Senate Minority Senator Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said on the floor. “This is a time when the American people need their government. This is what we chose. The oath we swear to the constitution means we must protect the general welfare of the people.”
Negotiations have stalled and partisan tensions have flared in recent days after Democrats twice blocked a key procedural vote to advance the law this week as lawmakers tried to reach a final agreement.
And five Republicans briefly lifted the last ballot Wednesday after demanding a change vote to ensure unemployment benefits do not exceed former employee salaries for fear they could get more money without jobs. The amendment, offered by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) And led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), Team Scott (RS.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) And Ted Cruz (R-Texas), failed to collect the 60 votes needed. It was defeated mostly along party lines 48-48.
“Nobody is arguing here about whether we should help workers or not,” Sasse said on the floor. “This is a debate about whether we will let a poorly drafted bill knock on the country in the coming months with unintentional increases in unemployment.”
In the end, Democrats declared victory over some provisions – more money for hospitals and unemployment insurance, as well as tighter supervision of corporate bailouts – while Republicans insisted on withdrawing, saying they always agreed on certain issues such as supervision and those due to Democrats. unnecessary delays.
With lawmakers outside the city amid rising concerns about travel and some lawmakers already contracting the virus, the chamber is expected to approve the stimulus Friday at 9 am to give members time to see part of a very large bill. This will be endorsed by voting, a method that will require fewer than a few people present and provide more political protection to those who might disagree with the bill because there is a debate period and no names are recorded. Unanimity was out of the question because Republicans hoped their own members would object.
However, anyone can also block a vote, in which members must be pulled back to Washington, D.C., for voting. Representatives of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) And Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Have refused to rule out the imposition of roll call noise.
“By voting, it gives you the chance that your constituents and those who represent you can debate the bill, can voice their opinions and not say that everyone agrees yes or no,” House Minority Leader Kevin Kevin McCarthy Calif.) Said .
Trump said that he would “immediately” sign the law into law as soon as it landed on his desk.
The stimulus package is the third part of the law produced to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Previous bills gave more funding for research on treatments and vaccines; requiring certain companies to give employees sick and family leave; Medicaid expanded; and increased money for food aid, such as food stamps.
The package comes at a time when the number of confirmed cases continues to increase exponentially to around 60,000 on Wednesday, straining hospitals and medical facilities across the country when the World Health Organization warns the United States could be the epicenter of a new pandemic earthquake. Trump is becoming increasingly eager to end the social restrictions that have closed most of the economy shortly after Easter to stem the recession, a move contrary to the advice of health officials.
“I will not do anything in a hurry or hurry. The country wants to go back to work,” Trump told reporters Wednesday at the White House. “We will do a part of our country, there is a large part of our country that is very little affected by what is happening.”
On Tuesday, the president suggested at the Fox News town hall that “the cure was worse than the problem,” outlining his belief “more people would die” if much of the economy remained closed.
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert at the National Institute of Health, said the situation was smooth and would be based on infection rates in the coming days and weeks. “You have to be very flexible and really from day to day and from week to week,” he told reporters Tuesday, flanked by Trump. “You need to evaluate the appropriateness of what you are trying to do.”
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci (right) watches as President Donald Trump arrives for a daily briefing on a new coronavirus, COVID-19, at the Brady Session Room at the White House on March 25 in Washington, DC.
Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty
Some Republicans have warned the president not to reopen the economy too early, saying the best way to help the economy in the long run is to stem the spread of the virus.
“That needs to be determined by public health figures,” Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Newsweek. “It’s a difficult balance, but I think the best thing we can do for the economy, at this point is to make this virus – the public health part of it – as short as possible.”
Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Republic House No. 3, warned in the tweet there “there will be no economy that functions normally if our hospital is overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what is necessary to stop the virus.”