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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

US Senate passes new $484b Coronavirus relief package for small businesses, hospitals and Covid-19 testing

The US Senate has approved about $484 billion in new coronavirus aid for small businesses, hospitals and testing, making it the US' second economic relief package since the Coronavirus pandemic started, if signed into law.

The agreement, made after weeks of negotiation and disagreements between Republican and Democratic Lawmakers was passed by a voice vote after agreements were made on Sunday and Monday.

The deal will include an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion specifically for community banks and smaller lenders, as well as $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for testing, and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.

Sen. Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky) said he opposed the funding but would not block its passage because more bail outs will increase America's annual deficit.

Senator Rand is the only senator who has been infected with the coronavirus.

"The virus bailouts have already cost over $2 trillion. Our annual deficit this year will approach $4 trillion. We can't continue on this course. No amount of bailout dollars will stimulate an economy that is being strangled by quarantine," Paul said from the Senate floor on Tuesday.

The House of Reps is expected to pass the bill on Thursday morning, with members returning to Washington for a recorded vote.

US President Trump threw his support behind the relief package on Tuesday.

"I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding for PPP, Hospitals, and Testing," Trump tweeted.

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