House passes $484 billion coronavirus stimulus for small businesses and hospitals, sends bill to Trump




  • In Business
  • 2020-04-23 23:17:51Z
  • By USA TODAY
House passes $484 billion coronavirus stimulus for small businesses and hospitals, sends bill to Trump
House passes $484 billion coronavirus stimulus for small businesses and hospitals, sends bill to Trump  

WASHINGTON - The House approved a nearly half-trillion-dollar emergency bill Thursday that provides more funds for struggling hospitals and will rescue a small business loan program that was quickly depleted by companies impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure, which passed 388-5 with one lawmaker voting present, will now head to President Donald Trump for his signature. The president has signaled he was ready to approve the bill.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined four Republicans - Reps. Thomas Massie, Jody Hice, Ken Buck and Andy Biggs - in voting against the measure. Independent Rep. Justin Amash voted present.

The $484 billion measure offers more funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was halted last week after dispersing all of its initial $349 billion.

The bill provides $320 billion to revive the program, which offers loans to small businesses. Those loans can be forgiven by the government if at least 75% of the money goes to keeping employees on the payroll, basically amounting to grants for businesses.

Of the small business funds, $60 billion will be set aside for community-based lenders, smaller banks and credit unions to assist smaller businesses that don't have established relationships with big banks and had a harder time accessing the funds in the first round of loans. The measure also bolsters the Small Business Administration's disaster loan and grant programs, which also dried up.

The legislation includes $75 billion to help overwhelmed hospitals and $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program, two provisions Democrats pushed for in negotiations. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the testing funds was one of the last pieces agreed to and require the administration to produce a national plan on how it will increase testing across the country.

House leaders applauded the near-unanimous vote, with Democrats noting the additional provisions they negotiated into the bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats worked to improve the initial bill because it was "shortchanging hospitals, shortchanging testing." He added that the measure still "shortchanges our state and local governments, and so we need another bill to try to get there."

Republicans also praised the passing of the measure but blamed Democrats for the delay in getting the funds to businesses.

"I applaud the House for finally answering President Trump's call to pass this relief package," House Republican Whip Steve Scalise said. "While this relief package is critical, it should have passed weeks ago, yet was held up by some who tried to use it as 'leverage' to add unrelated items. The livelihood of millions of Americans and small businesses who are struggling during this pandemic should never be used as leverage."

Biggs, one of the five lawmakers to vote against the measure, said he opposed the bill due to unspecific terms that he worried could allow state and local governments to spy on Americans through contact tracing of the disease. He argued that instead of passing more funds, "the best cure for the nation is to open up America now."

SBA: PPP processed more than 14 years' worth of loans in less than 14 days

PPP: Loan plan a mess for small businesses riding out coronavirus crisis

The House tweaked its procedures for Thursday's vote to meet social distancing guidelines. Members voted in alphabetical order and were allowed on the House floor only in small groups to prevent further spread of the virus. The House chamber was cleaned in between votes, with staff quickly cleaning surfaces before lawmakers entered again. Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

It was the first time in a month that many lawmakers have been back to the U.S. Capitol, though not all of the body's 435 members made it back to Washington for the vote.

The House on Thursday also took up a resolution to establish a congressional committee dedicated to providing oversight over the coronavirus crisis and trillions of dollars in relief money. The resolution was approved in a 212-182 vote.

Bigger checks? Relief for states? What could be in the next coronavirus bill

This small business stimulus measure is the fourth bill Congress has approved to counter the pandemic. More aid may be on the way as Congressional leaders and Trump acknowledged another measure will be needed.

Here are the bills Congress has passed to counter the pandemic:

  • $8.3 billion to find a vaccine and supplies and ensure state and local health providers were prepared. It was signed by the president March 6.

  • $192 billion for paid sick and family leave, food stamp benefits and free coronavirus testing. Trump signed the bill March 18.

  • $2 trillion for widespread financial relief for people and businesses hurting because of the economic impacts of coronavirus. The package included checks for Americans, bolstered unemployment benefits and the establishment of the PPP. The $2 trillion package, the largest relief measure in U.S. history, was signed by Trump on March 27.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: House approves stimulus bill for small business program

COMMENTS

More Related News

George Floyd death: Ex-officer charged with murder in Minneapolis
George Floyd death: Ex-officer charged with murder in Minneapolis

An ex-police officer in Minneapolis is detained over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd.

George Floyd protests erupt across nation: Police clear streets after fires in Minneapolis; violence in Columbus, Louisville
George Floyd protests erupt across nation: Police clear streets after fires in Minneapolis; violence in Columbus, Louisville

In two deeply shaken cities, peaceful protests later turned violent over the deaths of unarmed black Americans George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Twitter hides Trump tweet for
Twitter hides Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence'
  • US
  • 2020-05-29 07:47:00Z

Twitter's decision to step in, at a time of racially charged civil unrest in cities across the United States, escalates a feud between Trump and tech companies. It came just hours after Trump signed an executive order threatening Silicon Valley social media firms with new regulations over free speech. "...These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen.

Coronavirus postcard that featured Trump
Coronavirus postcard that featured Trump's name cost struggling Postal Service $28 million

Trump's coronavirus post card, mailed to every American home, drew fire from critics who noted it prominently featured his name in an election year.

Fox News Anchor Confronts Kayleigh McEnany on Her Mail-In Voting Hypocrisy
Fox News Anchor Confronts Kayleigh McEnany on Her Mail-In Voting Hypocrisy

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany may have found herself in an uncomfortable position on Thursday when Fox News anchor Ed Henry briefly pressed her on her lengthy history of voting by mail.Over the past several weeks, President Donald Trump has railed against mail-in ballots as more states consider expanding the process amid the coronavirus pandemic, falsely claiming that vote-by-mail is rife with fraud and abuse. The president's repeated falsehoods on the topic were eventually flagged by Twitter, prompting outrage from conservatives and the president drafting an executive order about social media.During a typically friendly interview with McEnany on Fox News' America's...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business