Congress has passed a $2.3 trillion package that will provide COVID-19 relief to those struggling during the pandemic and a large amount of funding to the government.
The package, which the Senate voted 92-6 on, includes $1.4 trillion in government funding and $900 billion in coronavirus relief. This is the first aid bill that Congress has agreed on since April. The House passed the bill on Monday. Now, the package is headed to Donald Trump’s desk, who has until December 28th to sign it. The White House has confirmed that Trump will sign the bill as one of his final major acts as president of the United States.
The bill has been met with immense criticism for the $600 stimulus payouts that citizens making less than $75,000 will be receiving as part of the aid package. Americans have blasted the government for offering millions in aid to major corporations while giving citizens, many of whom have been laid off due to the pandemic, the bare minimum in assistance. Nevertheless, lawmakers feel that the passing of the bill is a great start.
“None of us think this legislation is perfect, but a big bipartisan majority of us recognize the incredible amount of good it will do when we send it to the president’s desk. The American people have waited long enough. I’m glad for our country that we’re now moving ahead together,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday.
Additionally, the $2.3 trillion bill includes $284 billion for small-business aid through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $300-per-week federal unemployment boost that will last for 11 weeks, and funding for hospitals and educational institutes. The bill also extends an eviction moratorium.
The government will receive $1.375 billion to build Trump’s border wall, $5 million for the implementation of a database to monitor police misconduct, a 3 percent raise for military personnel as well as a 1 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees, and $153 million allocated for programs to improve community relations with law enforcement.
The bills come months after disagreements between Democrats in Congress and the White House on the stipulations surrounding getting aid to citizens who have been drastically affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At times, even Republicans within the Senate did not see eye to eye with the White House.