House Passes $484 Billion Aid Package to Aid Small Businesses, Hospitals

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a $484 billion aid package to help small businesses and hospitals dealing with the coronavirus pandemic after it was overwhelmingly approved by Congress, Politico reports.

The House voted in favor of the bill on Thursday, with just five lawmakers -- four conservative Republicans and New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, voting against the bill.

The bill will add $321 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, a fund for small businesses that quickly ran out of money after it was approved in Congress’ earlier $2.2 trillion relief bill.

The bill will also provide an additional $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion to increase coronavirus testing.

The bill does not include any funding to help states and local governments, as Democrats have pushed for, though Trump has said he supports local aid in the next phase of the relief legislation.

Democrats say more is needed:

Ocasio-Cortez, the lone Democrat to oppose the bill, said that she would not vote for a bill that delays aid to local governments until the next phase.

"We have no date, we have no commitment on when this Cares 4 is gonna happen,” she told reporters.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to press for more aid in the coming days.

“For anyone who thinks this is the last train out of the station, that is not close to the case,” he said earlier this week.

Republicans push back:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that he would oppose aiding states and local governments.

“We've allocated $2.8 trillion in the last month or so to fight this pandemic. That adds an awful lot of money to the national debt,” he said in a radio interview on Thursday. “So what I've said is we need to push the pause button here and remember the only ultimate way out of this is for the economy to slowly begin to open back up.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called McConnell’s proposals that states declare bankruptcy “dumb.”

“This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” he said on Thursday. “Not to fund state and local governments is incredibly short-sighted. They want to fund small businesses, fund the airlines, I understand that, but state and local governments fund police and fire and teachers and schools. How do you not fund police and fire and teachers and schools in the midst of this crisis?”


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