United States senators make progress toward voting on $2 trillion coronavirus bill

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The Senate passed a substantial emergency relief bill on Wednesday night that would provide aid to small businesses, hospitals, and Americans suffering from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The bill also includes $367 billion for a small business forgiveness loan program and a one-time check of $1,200 for Americans who make up to $75,000 per year, with an additional $500 for each child.

The gains include: increased funding going directly to hospitals and medical workers, enhancements to the length of time that a worker laid off due to coronavirus can receive unemployment benefits, oversight for corporations receiving loans, money given for small businesses, and support given to states and localities.

However, House leaders hoped the bill would pass by voice vote on Friday, without representatives having to return to Washington. "(Lindsey) Graham and some other Republicans, they are just terribly upset that low-income workers might receive a bit more money than they otherwise would have earned", Sanders told CNN's Anderson Cooper, before the chamber voted on the bill.

This is a big deal and a big win for Democrats, who fought hard for these provisions.

The Senate coronavirus package costs roughly $2 trillion and is approximately 880-pages long.

This package will hopefully serve to remind Donald Trump that he will not be able to enrich himself off the crisis he had a hand in causing, and will also show that it was Congress, not the President, that acted to actually help people in the time of need.

"Pass the damn bill".

Other objections floated in from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has become a prominent Democrat on the national scene as the country battles the pandemic.

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Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory".

The bill also calls for the government sending $1,200 checks to individuals who make less than $75,000 and $2,400 for couples making less than $150,000.

Another $25 billion goes to public transit systems, $4.35 billion of that to NY - with $3.8 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose ridership collapsed as COVID-19 spread.

It is expected that the text of the historic bill will be released later in the day, before it heads to the Senate floor for a vote. Two members of the House and one senator have recently tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19. Weekly benefits will rise by $600 as well and more types of workers will be covered under the unemployment insurance scheme.

Republicans won inclusion of an "employee retention" tax credit that's estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50% of workers' paycheck up to $10,000.

Schumer immediately sent out a roster of negotiating wins for transit systems, hospitals and cash-hungry state governments that were cemented after Democrats blocked the measure in votes held Sunday and Monday. The treasury department has to publicly post every loan it grants within 72 of granting it.

Together with Fed intervention, the proposed legislation amounted to a $6 trillion stimulus, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, or about 30 per cent of annual GDP.

And on Wednesday he added there was more to come: 'This is certainly not the end of our work here in Congress, rather the end of the beginning'.

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