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After months of negotiations, Congress finally approves a $900 billion stimulus package to fight the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The daily cases in the US peaked above $400,000 last Friday.
On Sunday, December 20, Congress approved another $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package in its continuing effort to keep the economic activity going. The US is currently facing a major surge in daily cases going above 400,000 last Friday.
On Saturday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported around 2756 new deaths across the US. Well, the latest numbers arrive even after the country has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech. The latest stimulus will provide a major relief to America’s health-care system.
On Sunday, Congressional leaders had announced their agreement on the bill. thus, Congress will be sending new federal assistance to small businesses, households and health-care providers for the first time since September. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said:
“At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed”.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. called the plan inadequate. They referred to the plan as a “package that delivers urgently needed funds to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people as the virus accelerates”. They also added that they would release a new package soon as President-elect Joe Biden takes charge on January 20, 2021.
“The American people have a great deal to celebrate in this legislation. But of course, the agreement we reached is far from perfect,” said Schumer.
COVID-19 Stimulus: Fighting the Once-In-A-Century Crisis
The Trump government had already passed $2 trillion as part of the CARES Act in March 2020. However, the Democrats had downplayed it and asked for more stimulus in the consecutive months. Although being reluctant to any more need of aid, the Trump administration later decided to trim down the roll-out.
The Democrats have been arguing on passing another trillion of dollars in stimulus. Talking about the latest stimulus bill, it includes $600 as direct payments to most adults and $600 additional per child. The Democrats have agreed on putting $284 billion into Paycheck Protection Program. This includes loans for small businesses. Besides, it would also direct another $20 billion as small business grants and an additional $15 billion for live event venues.
Besides, a lot would go to unemployment supplement and unemployment eligibility. However, it’s unclear how long these measures will last. Also, $82 billion will go straight away to schools and colleges. Another $25 billion would go to rental assistance and $13 billion into enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
Starting 2021, Schumer noted that the Democrats will push for more relief. “Immediately, starting in the new year, Congress will need to get to work on support for our COVID-19 stimulus, for support to struggling families, and investments in jobs and economic recovery,” he said. “There will be no time to waste.”