Senate Votes 96 to 0, Passes Stimulus Package: Now to The House

Every senator that could be present voted Yes to the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history. The move sends the bill to the House, where Speaker Pelosi is trying to figure out how to get the legislation legally approved with so many representatives stuck in their home districts due to the virus. Legislative analysts expect the House to take a roll call vote on Friday. If there are no dissents, the measure would pass and then go to the president for his signature.

The unanimous vote, a rare departure from bitter partisanship in Washington, underscored how seriously members of Congress are taking the global pandemic as Americans suffer and the medical system reels.

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said:

“When there’s a crisis of this magnitude, the private sector cannot solve it. Individuals even with bravery and valor are not powerful enough to beat it back. Government is the only force large enough to staunch the bleeding and begin the healing.”

The package funds unemployment insurance across the nation, provides funds for medical supplies and facilities, offers $500 billion in bailout funds for industries struck by the crisis, and directs $1,200 to each working American who earns $75,000 or less. The money for individuals means $2,400 per couple and adds $500 per child. The direct payment declines as a person income rises, and falls to zero at $99,000 of income. Couples making $150,000 or less will receive the full payout, which will phase out for those making up to $198,000. Small companies are eligible for up to $10 million in forgivable loans.

It will take some time for the money to arrive. If the U.S. Treasury Department has a person’s banking information because of previous electronic payments, the funds should arrive within three weeks. If the government has to send a check, it could take up to four months as the IRS can’t process more than about 20 million checks a month.

At $2 trillion, the stimulus is 40% of the federal government’s annual budget of $4.7 trillion.

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